No headway in J&K govt formation: PDP keeps all alliance options open, even with BJP

A hung house in Jammu and Kashmir has thrown open a range of possibilities which can even relegate the BJP, which has for the first time emerged  as the second largest party, to opposition benches in the state assembly.

With no political party getting a clear mandate in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which won 28 seats, the highest by any party in the house of 87, has kept  alliance options open, even with  arch-rival National Conference (NC).

But late on Wednesday reports from Delhi said the former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who had earlier said he was going to meet his ailing parents in London cancelled his visit, and met BJP president Amit Shah and senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh  instead in Delhi. Omar has also reportedly meet Ram Madhav, General Secretary of BJP, who had campaigned for the party in the state.

 No headway in J&K govt formation: PDP keeps all alliance options open, even with BJP

Jammu and Kashmir. AFP.

Earlier NC president Omar Abdullah, who resigned from the post of chief minister on Wednesday after his party was routed by the PDP, had told a news channel that his party was open to an alliance with all parties, including the PDP.

"There is a crack (in the window) open for the PDP," Omar said in the interview to NDTV, "if Mufti saheb picks up the phone" and calls. An NC statement on Wednesday reiterated Omar’s call for support to PDP.

"NC's option of considering extending support to the PDP has been expressed by Omar himself. PDP has emerged as the largest party. The onus lies on them. We have made a gesture," NC spokesman, Junaid Mattu said in a statement.

If NC and PDP come together, they will reach the magical figure of 44 comfortably. But that is unlikely to happen since both the parties’ existence at least in Kashmir, is a threat to the other.

PDP is divided on seeking support  from BJP. But was waiting for a chance when BJP could go knocking on Omar's doors, so that they could also  have a chance to tell the party,  ‘we were waiting for you.’

A senior PDP leader told Firstpost that the party patriarch, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, is against the idea of allying with BJP.

“It will be a difficult choice to go against the mandate that the people of Kashmir gave to PDP, but we are considering all the options,” he said.

However, there is a lobby within the party led by Lok Sabha MP from Baramulla, Muzaffar Hussain Beg, who are pushing for an alliance with the BJP.

Senior PDP leader Basharat Bukhari said the people of Jammu and Kashmir have voted for change and the PDP has got the mandate to lead the state.

“While Congress has offered us unconditional support, we will accept support from every political party; be it BJP or NC, but it has to come through a proper process, not on television channels,” he said.

But even with Congress’s 12 seats, the PDP is falling well short of 44 seats to stake the claim for government formation. The two seats won by Sajad Lone-led Peoples Conference can play a crucial role along with other independent candidates.

The BJP won 25 seats in the state assembly, mostly from the Hindu dominated Jammu region, making it the second largest party in the region.

However, the party can only wait, given the religious polarisation in the state with both PDP and NC wary of seeking their support.
“If PDP with 21 seats can sit in the opposition after 2008 state assembly elections, why not BJP. Such a proposition is fraught with ramification but it is a proposition nevertheless,” a political analyst said.

A senior NC leader had earlier told Firstpost that the party has left the decision of alliances to Dr Abdullah and the position will become clear after Omar’s return.

What's important is how  the 54-year old Mufti will stitch an alliance that would be acceptable to all the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir. That is a litmus test presently for his leadership.

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Updated Date: Dec 25, 2014 14:43:37 IST

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