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Governor favours early Assembly elections.

Governor Satya Pal Malik has favoured holding of early election to the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, saying he does not think a popular government can be formed out of the present house after the collapse of the BJP-PDP coalition dispensation in June.

The state has been under Governor’s rule since Peoples Democratic Party presidentMehbooba Mufti resigned as Chief Minister in June following the withdrawal of support by the BharatiyaJanata Party to her government. There have been speculations about behind-the-scene efforts to put together a new government. No party enjoys a majority in the 87-member Assembly, in which the PDP has 28 MLAs, the BJP 25 and the National Conference 15. Putting such speculations to rest, Malik told PTI in an interview here that he would not be part of any shenanigans.

Asked if a popular government can be formed out of the present Assembly, the Governor replied: “I don’t think so. At least, I will not be part of any ‘dhandli’ (shenanigans). I have not been given any such indication either by the Prime Minister or by any other central leader.” To a question on holding of fresh elections to the Assembly whose tenure ends in December 2020, Malik said that he wished that the elections were held at the earliest.

“The decision will be taken by the Centre and the Election Commission. My job is to discharge dual responsibility (of Governor and administrator) which I will continue to do… I wish that elections are held at the earliest,” he said.

On the contentious issue of Article 35A of the Constitution, which empowers the state legislature to define the permanent residents and provide them special rights, the Governor said that his administration would seek deferment of the hearings on the matter in the Supreme Court.

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