Jammu and Kashmir appears to be headed for a coalition government again with the bitterly fought election expected to throw up a hung assembly in the state.
The trends suggest that no political party is in a position to bag a clear majority of 44 seats in the 87-member House.
Pollsters have predicted that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will emerge as the single largest party and the fight for the second spot is between the National Conference (NC), the BJP and the Congress.
While the PDP is expected to win the majority of its seats from the Kashmir valley, the BJP hopes to reap rich electoral dividends from the Jammu region. However, the NC and the Congress are also trying their best to put up a decent show.
In such a scenario, a coalition government in J&K seems inevitable. The state has seen two coalition governments since 2002, with the Congress playing an important role in both the dispensations.
While the PDP and the Congress joined hands in 2002 and agreed to rule the state for three years each, the two parties snapped ties over the Amarnath land row in 2008 just before the assembly polls.
In 2009, the Congress and NC came together to form a coalition government minus the power sharing agreement.
NC’s Omar Abdullah was allowed to be the chief minister for a full six-year term.
However, this alliance also crumbled just before the assembly elections, though the two parties continued to run the coalition government till the end of the term.
It now remains to be seen which two parties will come together to form the next government in state. Notwithstanding the acrimonious exchanges witnessed during the election campaign, the chances of an alliance between PDP and Congress look bright.