National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti.

Fax Machine & Omar-Mufti Bonhomie: Battle for J&K on Twitter

A fax machine and a bonhomie between two political rivals on Twitter, that’s how the battle to stake claim in Jammu and Kashmir was launched on Wednesday, 21 November, after Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved the Assembly.

In a first in Indian politics, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Mehbooba Mufti had to tweet out her party’s claim to form government in the state after the fax machine at the Raj Bhawan did not accept her request due to a technical glitch.

Mufti tweeted, “In today's age of technology, it is very strange that the fax machine at Governor's residence didn't receive our fax, but swiftly issued one regarding the Assembly dissolution."

Once an arch rival and now an ally, Omar Abdullha quipped: "J&K Raj Bhawan needs a new fax machine urgently."

The two leaders did not stop at that. Retweets, memes and GIFs were on full public display as Mufti wrote she would have never imagined Omar Abdullah retweeting her posts.

Abdullah retweeted Mufti four times in a span of 15 minutes.

"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," Omar wrote.

Screenshots of tweets.
Screenshots of tweets.

GIFs and Memes Exchanged

Soon after, taking a dig at Governor Satya Pal Malik’s fax machine, Mufti again responded with a famous meme.

On 22 November, Omar Abdullah demanded at a press conference that investigation be conducted on the ‘faulty’ fax machine at the Raj Bhawan. He said, “This is for the first time that a fax machine didn't work and became responsible for the death of democracy. This fax machine is an one-way fax, it has only outgoing and no incoming. This is a unique fax machine and investigation should be done on it.”

Governor Malik, while speaking to News18, said that because of Eid, no employee was near the fax machine and hence he did not receive the letter. To further his claim, he told the news channel, “Sometimes, water geysers also do not work at Raj Bhavan.”

Background

The J&K Assembly was abruptly dissolved by the Governor late on Wednesday, 21 November, after the PDP staked claim to form a government with the backing of rivals National Conference and the Congress.

Mufti wrote to governor that her party, which has 29 MLAs, backed by the National Conference and the Congress with 15 and 12 legislators respectively, intended to stake claim for formation of the government.

The collective strength of the three parties was 56, well above the required number of 44 for a majority in the 87-member Assembly, Mehbooba said.

(With inputs from PTI)