Who sits next to fax on holiday? J&K governor’s comeback on Mufti’s charge

No one was sitting next to the fax machine when Mehbooba Mufti sent her letter staking claim to form the government as it was a holiday, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik said on Thursday after the PDP leader’s charge that her message wasn’t received.

“My office was shut because of Eid so I got no communication from Mehbooba Mufti. On a holiday, none was sitting next to the fax machine,” Malik told a TV news channel.

Mufti, who was ready with her letter that claimed the support of arch-rival National Conference (NC) and Congress to form the government in the restive state, turned to Twitter to deliver her claim, tagging the governor’s account.

The 59-year-old leader said she had been trying to send her letter staking claim to the Raj Bhavan. But “strangely the fax is not received”. She tried to contact him by phone too, but he was “not available”.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Mufti thanked NC’s Omar Abdullah and Congress’Ambika Soni “for helping us achieve the seemingly impossible” and said “the very idea of a grand coalition” had given jitters, in a sharp jibe at her former coalition partner.

“PS – In todays age of technology, it is very strange that the fax machine at HE Governor’s residence didn’t receive our fax but swiftly issued one regarding the assembly dissolution. 🤔 (sic),” she said.

“And I never thought I’d be retweeting anything you said while agreeing with you. Politics truly is a strange world. Good luck for the battle ahead. Once again the wisdom of the people will prevail,” he said.

Malik ordered to dissolve the state assembly minutes after Mufti staked claim to form the government with the support of 56 legislators in the 87-member assembly. The Peoples Democratic Party had 28 members in the assembly, the NC 15 and the Congress 12. The bloc had the support of one Independent MLA as well.

The People’s Conference led by Sajjad Lone later staked a rival claim, saying it had the support of 25 legislators belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and “more than 18” others.

Jammu and Kashmir was brought under Governor’s rule in June after the BJP broke the four-year-old coalition and withdrew support to the PDP-led government. The assembly, which had two more years to go, had been kept in suspended animation since then.

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