There's some thaw in the deadlock over government formation in the state, two days after voters threw up a hung assembly. As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sent its senior leader and Union finance minister Arun Jaitley to the state, the People's Democratic Party (PDP) leaders have said they are ready to talk.
"If the BJP leaders come to us, we will talk. There is no harm in talking to them," PDP leader Altaf Bukhari, a close aide of party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, told Hindustan Times.
Bukhari, however, remained non-committal on the government formation only with the BJP. "We have many independents on our side. We are in touch with them," said Bukhari who also made an oblique reference to the spadework done on the Congress front too.
Many PDP leaders oppose alliance with the BJP fearing a political backlash in the Valley where voters halted the saffron party's 'Mission 44+' and denied it a chance to win any seat. A senior PDP leader called the situation tricky, and said being the single largest party was "like wearing a mantle full of thorns."
The PDP has also responded to the National Conference (NC) working president Omar Abdullah's offer of support saying "let them come up with a formal proposal".
Top PDP leaders like Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and Mehbooba Mufti are keeping their cards close to the chest and went into a silent mode since the results, apparently to weigh all options and its long term fallout.
Meanwhile, a BJP team, headed by general secretary Ram Madhav reached Srinagar late on Thursday afternoon in a special plane to hold parleys with stakeholders, including independent MLAs and smaller groups like Engineer Rashid, Hakim Yasin and Sajad Lone, in an apparent bid to put pressure on the PDP to come forward.
Omar Abdullah has also reached Srinagar and deferred his London trip to see his parents by a day or so.
The news that Omar Abdullah met BJP leaders in New Delhi triggered strong reactions from many NC leaders before both the parties eventually dismissed the report.
"I oppose this alliance of my party with the BJP. I can't compromise with my conscience since people voted to keep the BJP out," NC leader Aga Ruhullah told Hindustan Times.
BJP with 25 seats can either go with NC (15 seats) or PDP (28) but have to have independents (7) on board to have numbers
PDP with 28 seats can either go with BJP (25) without independents or with Congress (12) with the help of independents
NC with 15 seats can support the PDP and independents to form govt