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Political turmoil in J&K is far from over

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
July 30, 2009 01:56 IST
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The political tempest in Jammu and Kashmir set off by Tuesday's resignation of state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is likely to take time to blow over.

State Governor N N Vohra, who flew to New Delhi on Tuesday afternoon, after receiving Omar's resignation has not yet returned to capital Srinagar even as the chief minister stayed away from state assembly's proceedings as well his office.

The chief minister, who was asked by the Governor to continue in office till he takes a decision on his conditional resignation, chose to stay put at his Gupkar residence in Srinagar.

Omar spent much of Wednesday meeting party activists and supporters who thronged his residence, pressing him to withdraw his resignation.

The condition put by Omar in his resignation is by all means set to take time as he has requested acceptance of his resignation if the allegation levelled by opposition People's Democratic Party stalwart Muzaffar Hussain Beigh of his involvement in the infamous 2006 sex scandal satisfies the Governor.

Vohra shall have to go through the drill of pursuing the relevant records related to the scandal and other documents and material to come to a satisfying conclusion to give a clean chit to the chief minister and consequent rejection of his resignation.

The onus of proving the chief minister innocent or guilty is now squarely on the Governor.

Analysts in Kashmir say it may be inconsistent with relevant provisions of the state constitution that an enquiry be held by the Governor against the chief minister. They say the development is without a precedent and any decision in the matter shall set a new benchmark, which enjoins a careful and constitution-friendly decision.

In this context, the Governor shall take his own time in consulting constitutional experts to reach a decision. Till this decision is taken the state shall have to live with political turmoil and executive vacuum.
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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar