The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hoping to emerge as the single largest party is in talks with the smaller parties to cross the magic figure of 44-plus seats, a target set by it for the first-ever BJP government in the state. The party is eyeing on the one-man parties in the Kashmir region.
The BJP hopes to make a clean sweep in the Jammu region, having 37 seats in the 87-member state assembly. The party is in deliberations with the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) for quite
some time. The modalities have not been finalised as both the parties are not ready to give up their turf.
"Talks are stuck on seat-sharing. Panthers is not conceding to BJP's demand of giving it one of three seats represented by it in the state assembly. Some state unit leaders are also not much keen on it either," said a BJP leader wishing not to named.
The BJP had in the 2008 assembly polls won 11 seats, its highest ever tally, having polled 12.45% votes, while the Panthers had secured three seats with 3.3% votes.
The internal calculation of the BJP is that it may bag 30 seats in the Jammu region. There are 24 seats where Hindus are in absolute majority, while the Hindu-Muslim population is almost equal in 10 assembly constituencies. The Muslims have an edge on three seats of Poonch district.
"The party had first made a move to rope in separatist Sajjad Lone, who represents Peoples Conference, but after a few deliberations, the idea was dropped," said a senior leader. There is now a move to bring in the Awami National Party, headed by Khalida Shah, sister of Farooq Abdullah, he said.
Though, the ANP has not won any seat in the last election, but it has good political connections across political parties in the Kashmir Valley.
"There were always politicians in Kashmir who had switched sides in the past to the party in power. And, they will be handy," said a senior BJP leader.
The BJP hopes to get at least three out of the four seats in the Ladakh region.
"Getting a support will not be a problem, if we can bag 30 seats. There are many in the established parties ready to join us even now," said he.