The ground beneath...; Belling Guv; Paradise lost
The ground beneath...
On June 19, the BJP pulled the rug from under the Mehbooba Mufti-led government in J&K. A day later, governor's rule was established in the state with the about-to-retire N.N. Vohra at the helm. The Valley is not new to any of this. Many a time in the past, ragtag alliances have been tripped up thus. Mehbooba's own anointment, too, came at the back of 87 days of governor's rule following the death of her father and J&K CM, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, in 2016. Then, too, it was Vohra who filled the blank.
The first instance dates back to 1977. It was the first general elections since Emergency. The Congress had lost, of course. In My Frozen Turbulence in Kashmir, one-time J&K governor Jagmohan writes how, anticipating that Sheikh Abdullah might break ties with it, the Congress withdrew support to the state government. A canny Abdullah, however, sought dissolution of the Assembly from governor L.K. Jha, an economist from Cambridge hailing from Darbhanga.
Other instances are 1986, when the state Congress pulled the plug on the Ghulam Shah government; 2002, after Farooq Abdullah refused to continue as caretaker CM; 2008, after the fall of the Ghulam Nabi Azad-led coalition; and 2015, post a hung Assembly. Between 1981 and 1990, B.K. Nehru, Jagmohan and K.V. Krishna Rao were governors. Jagmohan was first replaced by KV, a retired chief of army staff. Then he replaced KV in 1990. What followed was the longest spell of governor's rule, followed by President's rule - nearly seven years. When asked why he had dissolved the Assembly, Jagmohan said, "...to make a new beginning." During this time, armed forces came to be thus woven into the Valley-scape, arrests without trial and surprise searches became life itself. Thus far, the state has clocked 3,000-plus days - nearly nine years - of direct and indirect rule by Delhi and still counting. Paradise?