Jammu & Kashmir has been in the grips of an intense power tussle with the state witnessing many swift developments in the past 24 hours. Five months after former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's surprise ouster from the J&K Assembly, Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday dissolved the Assembly soon after Mufti staked claim to the government following an equally surprising alliance between Mufti's People's Democratic Party, Omar Abdullah's J&K National Congress and Sajjad Lone's J&K People's Conference.
However, amid the power play in the politically volatile state, a ‘broken’ fax machine in Raj Bhavan took center stage in the drama as Mehbooba Mufti’s letter staking claim to form the government got lost somewhere in transmission. Which led to the drama being played out almost entirely on the microblogging site, Twitter.
It was started by Mufti who posted a photo of the letter staking claim to form government on Twitter. She claimed she had been trying to send the letter to the Governor via fax but was unable to, announcing that she was instead taking to Twitter and Facebook to catch the Governor's eye. Similar messages were posted by Sajjad Lone, whose National Conference also staked claim. The National Congress chief backed up the claims.
Have been trying to send this letter to Rajbhavan. Strangely the fax is not received. Tried to contact HE Governor on phone. Not available. Hope you see it @jandkgovernor pic.twitter.com/wpsMx6HTa8 — Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) November 21, 2018
We have sent a letter to His Excellency the Governor staking our claim to form the government. Fax not working. We ha e whatsapped it to the PA to his excellency. @jandkgovernor — Sajad Lone (@sajadlone) November 21, 2018
In a controversial decision, Malik went on the dissolve the Assembly the same night and claimed that the fax never reached Raj Bhavan on time. He also said that sometimes, fax machines in the Raj Bhavan don't work, even as he was slammed for being able to use it to deliver the message of dissolution the same night. While the alliance, which brings PDP's total strength in the Assembly to 56, is unprecedented, the manner in which the drama unfolded is also something previously unseen in J&K.
Soon after Mufti's tweet, her new alliance partners Omar Abdullah and Sajjad Lone joined her. And guess what they used to throw jibes at the Governor? Memes. Both Abdullah and Mufti indulged in some amusing meme-banter on Twitter after their initial tweets went viral. Abdullah posted the meme of a fax machine.
Raj Bhavan Jammu fax machine at work 😀 pic.twitter.com/RyLOhvQinc — Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) November 21, 2018
To the JKNC chief's surprise, the usually stoic Mufti responded with another meme.
Meanwhile those awaiting a response. pic.twitter.com/Q4OM7rFfvB — Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) November 21, 2018
It did not end here. Both parties also indulged in further friendly exchanges.
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. https://t.co/OcN9uRje1s — Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) November 21, 2018
Touche! On a lighter note, perhaps they should do away with fax machines and allow official communication via whatsapp. Or maybe we should just gift them a new one. 📠 — Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) November 21, 2018
Emboldened by the former CMs' banter, Twitterverse near exploded with memes.
Exclusive footage of a fax machine from a certain Raj Bhavan earlier today. pic.twitter.com/YpqYnYPBsv — Tinu Cherian Abraham (@tinucherian) November 21, 2018
Fax machine is the new dog ate my homework 😜😜 — Suparna Singh (@Suparna_Singh) November 22, 2018
Dear J&K governor, Can you be transferred to Tamil Nadu ASAP? We have been waiting for an minority assembly to be dissolved for long and apparently we need someone like you who takes swift actions Also we can provide fax machine Your Truly TamilNadu https://t.co/2uPSTdqLYr — Prabha (@deepsealioness) November 21, 2018
Fax Machine spotted :D #JammuKashmir pic.twitter.com/2FhfOLBYCd — Fahad Shah (@pzfahad) November 21, 2018
New India fax machine?#JammuKashmir pic.twitter.com/m8QXZhSfZZ — sarvarta (@sarvarta) November 21, 2018
as a united fan, hearing about a fax machine fiasco in J&K pic.twitter.com/o91Epapyak — Nishtha (@RootKanal) November 22, 2018
Fax machine is in trending on social media 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/xyIIH6uWkm — Mushtaq War (@mushtaqwar_) November 21, 2018
J&K Raj Bhawan Fax machine @OmarAbdullah @MehboobaMufti @RjNasir927 #Kashmir pic.twitter.com/Pqhea0ZQnV — Suneel Wattal (@suneelwattal) November 21, 2018
Breaking: I have acquired exclusive footage of fax machine at J&K Raj Bhawan which happens to work in tandem with a shredder.#Kashmir pic.twitter.com/ZdcUxotWYz — The God’s Particle! (@BurhanSpeaks) November 21, 2018
J&K Governor house has non functional Fax machine NRI👇 pic.twitter.com/HBmiiuUk1P — Kattar-Bhartiya (@indcheated2014) November 21, 2018
Abdullah said that this was the first time a fax machine was used to murder democracy. With the dissolution of the Assembly, the state would again be under central control from December 18.