Jammu and Kashmir government falls as Azad quits (Lead)

July 7th, 2008 - 3:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, July 7 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Monday decided to quit his office rather than put his motion of confidence to vote in the state legislative assembly, which met here for a special session called by Governor N.N. Vohra to give Azad a chance to prove his majority. Azad delivered a long speech in the assembly highlighting his achievements, focusing mainly on developmental works during the 43 months he led the multi-party coalition government in the state.

After ending his speech, Azad told the members: “I know your conscience says something else while your party whips ask you to do something else.”

After this, Azad requested Speaker Tara Chand to allow him to withdraw the motion of confidence tabled in the house to prove his numbers.

“I am going to the Raj Bhavan to submit my resignation to the governor,” Azad told waiting media persons outside the state legislature complex.

Azad had taken over as chief minister in November 2005 as per the terms of an alliance agreement between the Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) headed by former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.

The National Conference, which is the largest party in the 87-member legislative assembly, had issued a whip to its 24 members to vote against the motion of confidence.

The present political crisis started after Azad’s largest coalition partner, the PDP with 17 members, withdrew support to the coalition government last week amid differences over the Amarnath land allotment row.

The Congress has 21 members in the assembly and it was also supported by many of 16 independent members and the two legislators of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

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