Srinagar: The People’s Democratic Party on Tuesday turned down the offer of “unconditional support” by National Conference president Omar Abdullah, saying the people in Jammu and Kashmir voted for change.
PDP chief spokesperson Naeem Akhtar told Firstpost that Omar was playing mind games to mislead public opinion in the politically uncertain state where government formation has become a herculean task for political parties, none of whom have a clear majority in the fractured house.
“Governor’s rule is better than any alliance with NC. People voted for change. They voted against National Conference. It is a power-hungry party. The actions of Omar Abdullah are nothing but pressure tactics to compel PDP into taking wrong decisions,” Akhtar said.
On Tuesday, Omar who stepped down as caretaker chief minister last week, reiterated his party National Conference’s support to PDP which emerged as the single largest party in the recently held state assembly elections with 28 seats in a House of 87. While the Congress with 12 seats has also been offering ‘verbal’ support to the PDP, the first ‘written’ offer to PDP came a day after National Conference held its core group meeting in Srinagar, following which a letter was sent to Governor NN Vohra, offering “unconditional support to PDP”.
The letter was delivered by party provisional president in Jammu, Devendra Singh Rana. Later a statement issued by NC said the party reiterated its support to PDP “in the larger interest of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” and urged Governor Vohra to consult the party leadership before taking any final decision in government formation.
Political analysts say the NC’s letter may push the PDP onto the back foot among the people in the Muslim majority Kashmir Valley as the party had been demanding “something in written” from the National Conference.
“One of the reasons why Kashmir saw huge participation of voters in assembly elections was to keep the BJP out of power. So PDP will have to do a lot of explaining to its voters. If the party goes ahead and forms an alliance with the BJP. Omar will get ammunition for the next six years to target the PDP if anything were to go wrong in Kashmir, saying that his party had offered support but PDP refused to take it,” a senior political analyst said.
“However, the NC’s letter will also give PDP the much-needed leverage when it comes to forging an alliance with the BJP,” he said.
While the assembly elections in New Delhi have pushed the PDP-BJP talks on the backburner for the time being, the move by NC, while it may have been conceived as a ‘political masterstroke’, may also backfire for the party in the coming days since the party, which was reduced to 15 members in the state assembly, is fighting for the same political space in Kashmir with the PDP.
A senior PDP leader said the party has been holding informal talks with the BJP leadership over government formation but they have been “struggling” to find a common ground to form an alliance.
“Yes we are fighting for the same turf but the intention is to create a regional alliance which respects the mandate of people.” Junaid Matoo, National Conference spokesperson told Firstpost. “If an alliance with PDP goes through, we can maintain our ideological distance, like Lalu and Nitish did in the case of Bihar,” he said.
However, more than PDP, the letter of support by NC has left the state BJP unit a worried lot.
A senior BJP leader who spoke to Firstpost on Tuesday said the state unit of the party has left every decision to the high command in New Delhi.
“It seems that the regional parties are trying to create a hegemony. It is an effort to conspire against the people of Jammu who have given us a mandate to rule them. They want to create a Kashmiri dominance which is an insult to the people of Jammu who have voted for us,” he said, requesting anonymity.
PDP’s Naeem Akhtar said the party leadership was carefully weighing all options before forming an alliance with any political party. “We have to respect the mandate of people and we will take the right decision at the right time,” he said.
Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on https://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019.html. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.
Updated Date: Jan 14, 2015 12:32:16 IST