Challenges ahead for Kashmir governor (Analysis)

July 9th, 2008 - 4:11 pm ICT by IANS  

By F. Ahmed
Srinagar, July 9 (IANS) As the imposition of governor’s rule becomes inevitable in Jammu and Kashmir, the focus has now shifted to the executive and constitutional responsibilities of N.N.Vohra and the challenges ahead for him in the coming days. Unlike other states, Jammu and Kashmir has its own constitution in addition to the constitution of India.

“This is the only state in the union where the governor, who was called the ‘Sadar-e- Riyasat’ till 1965 when the change of nomenclature was made, has legislative powers in addition to executive powers according to the state constitution,” a constitutional expert said.

The state constitution, as per the expert, empowers the governor to recommend a period of his rule to the union cabinet which would in turn make its recommendations to the country’s president.

“But, one has to understand that governor’s rule is different from president’s rule which is imposable in case of other states of the country.

“The state constitution makes the governor a plenipotentiary giving him vast executive and legislative powers during his rule.

“The present situation is technically not very extraordinary. Political government has somehow ceased to exist here because of a so-called storm in a tea-cup.

“There being no breakdown of law and order machinery, or outside aggression, economic emergency or the collapse of the constitutional system, the governor would simply have to recommend that he is temporarily assuming executive powers till such times an elected government is back in place here,” the expert said.

“This would normally indicate that we are in for a short period of governor’s rule and the elections should be held in time,” he said.

But the mainstream political activities in the Kashmir Valley have been severely jolted by the recent agitation against the land allotment to Amarnath shrine board.

“What remains to be seen is whether or not the mainstream political players would be able to resume normal politics within the next two months so that the elections become people-participative,” said Bashir Manzar, editor of a daily newspaper here.

“If that does not happen, elections might either have to be deferred till next spring or be held in time this October with very little participation by the people,” Manzar said.

The acid test for Vohra, who also acted as the centre’s interlocutor on Kashmir for many years, would be not only holding the elections in time, but also ensuring those elections become credible by a large participation of the people.

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