Farooq Abdullah may dissolve J&K Assembly in August
25 July 2002
The Hindustan Times
Jammu: J&K chief Minister Farooq Abdullah is learnt to have decided to recommend the dissolution of the Jammu and Kashmir House in mid- August. The recommendation is likely to be made soon after Independence Day, and will be accompanied by a call for elections. The chief minister''s move, sources said, is aimed at pre-empting the imposition of Governor''s rule on the state ahead of the assembly elections. The National Conference (NC) fears that the announcement of elections may be delayed, so that the state goes under central rule after the House completes its term. An early dissolution of the assembly will force New Delhi to announce either elections or central rule much earlier. Farooq''s move is also linked with developments in Gujarat. There is a strong opinion in the state that the Centre cannot, after having announced it would not impose President''s rule on Gujarat, do the same in Jammu and Kashmir before the elections, and the NC would like to cash in on this sentiment. Neither can the BJP, after having backed Narendra Modi''s move to dissolve the House, criticise Farooq for doing the same. And, at a time when the Centre has opened autonomy talks with the state government, New Delhi would like to avoid any perception of ''high-handedness'' in Jammu and Kashmir. Again, Farooq hopes to spring elections upon the Opposition parties in the state at a time they are still unprepared. Despite the Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and People''s Democratic Party having held meetings and asked workers to get ready for elections, they all have been pinning hopes on Governor''s rule and a postponement of the polls.