Srinagar/New Delhi: The suspense over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir following the hung verdict in the Assembly elections continued today as PDP, the single largest party, and BJP, the next big outfit, kept their cards close to the chest.
Emerging as a potential king maker with 25 seats in its bag, the leadership of BJP met in the Parliamentary Board in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi after which the party said it was keeping “all options” open.
Yesterday, the party President Amit Shah had listed the options as forming a BJP government, supporting a government and participating in a government.
It also decided to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and National Secretary Arun Singh as Observers to Srinagar in three-four days to oversee elections of Legislature Party leader and finalise a strategy on government formation.
The top leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats in a House of 87, continued their closed-door marathon consultations on its strategy.
Falling short of the majority mark, the party Patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and President Mehbooba Mufti deliberated with the party brass and grass root level leaders at Sayeed’s residence on the options of entering into an alliance for forming a government.
While PDP has done well in the Valley, the BJP has done well in the Jammu region. The ruling National Conference secured 15 rpt 15 seats while the Congress notched 12 rpt 12 seats.
Reflecting the dilemma and difficult choices before it in going with the BJP to form a government, the party is keeping the strategy to itself for the moment. None of the leaders spoke to the media. The chief spokesman of the party Naeem Akhtar has also kept away from the media.
The dilemma for PDP to tie up with BJP may be its apprehensions about the possible consequences of such a coming together in the longer term against the backdrop of the sangh parivar’s growing assertion over Hindutva issues and the impact they could cause in the politics of the state, especially in the Valley.
The other possibility for PDP may be going with the Congress as both the parties had run a coalition government six years ago. The Congress has so far not disclosed its strategy so far.
While Mehbooba yesterday said it will take time to explore its options on government formation, several PDP workers have impressed upon the party leadership to take lead in forming the next state government.
“We have told the party leaders that we should be leading the next government even if it means to join hands with BJP. The mandate of the people is clearly in favour of PDP in Kashmir and BJP in Jammu,” a PDP worker, who wished anonymity, said after coming out of Sayeed’s residence.
Apart from the four major parties, which account for 80 of the 87 seats, “Others” have got 7 seats. These include two Independents who have won with the support of NC, two of People’s Conference headed by Sajjad Lone, one of CPI(M) and one of People’s Democratic Front (Secular) and another Independent. (PTI)
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