Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has caused a stir with his comment that "if he had looked towards the centre," he would have been compelled to install in the state a government led by Sajad Lone, who was backed by the BJP.
"Had I looked towards Delhi (the centre), then I would have been forced to invite Sajad Lone to form the government. Then I would have gone down in history as unscrupulous. But I ended the whole thing. Those who want to abuse me can do so, but I am convinced I did the right thing," Mr Malik stressed at a convocation in Madhya Pradesh's Gwalior on Saturday.
The Governor was defending his move to dissolve the assembly last week after Sajad Lone-BJP on one hand and the trio of Mehbooba Mufti, her rival Omar Abdullah and the Congress on the other, staked claim to form government.
As the comments caused a buzz, the governor clarified. "My statement cannot be manipulated in any way that the centre was interested in Sajad Lone. I only said, if I would have asked them, they might have said Sajad Lone. I did not ask them and they did not tell me," he told NDTV.
Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah - who had accused the governor of trying to help the centre's ruling BJP and had questioned repeatedly why a fax machine at Mr Malik's house did not work when Ms Mufti was trying to send her letter claiming support - praised the Governor based on the video.
"Leaving aside the fax machine fiasco, good to see that governor refused to take dictation from Delhi, rather opted for the dissolution of the assembly. This could be unprecedented, given the story of democracy in the state," tweeted Mehbooba Mufti, who resigned as chief minister in June after being dumped by alliance partnr BJP.
Omar Abdullah, the leader of the National Conference also had a good word. "My compliments to Governor Malik for not looking to Delhi and for not taking their instructions thereby stopping the installation of a government of the BJP & it's proxies formed by horse trading, defections and use of money," he tweeted.
People's Conference leader Sajad Lone was rattled. Mr Lone, who has two members in the state assembly and had claimed enough numbers along with the BJP and 18 others, accused the governor of saying a "new thing" everyday.
"The J&K governor cannot rip me apart," Mr Lone said, insisting that he called him first with his claim and was told to fax his letter.
Responding to allegations that the BJP propped him up hoping to raise numbers through "horse-trading", Mr Lone replied: "Do I have cash for it?"
Mr Malik's comments followed NDTV's Ravish Kumar jokingly asking the graduating engineering students at the convocation to devise a fax machine that "will not stop working after 7 pm". "I am saying this in the governor's presence because I am sure he will take it in the right spirit, because this is a democracy," said the senior journalist.
In his response to the quip, Mr Malik said: "If Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference leader Omar Abdhullah were serious about forming government in Jammu and Kashmir, they should have called me, or sent me a letter."