J-K govt formation: PDP divided over BJP alliance

  • Peerzada Ashiq/ Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Dec 30, 2014 02:25 IST

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was divided on the idea of tying up with the BJP to form the government in Jammu and Kashmir with several legislators on Monday expressing their reservations about such an alliance.

PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and his daughter and party president, Mehbooba Mufti, met party leaders for consultations over the possible alliance after the BJP emerged as the second largest party in the state polls with 25 seats in the 87-member assembly. The PDP won 28 seats.

PDP legislators have been asked to go to their constituencies to gauge how voters feel about such an alliance.

Sources said the party was a divided house on the issue, with newly-elected legislator Mushtaq Shah even writing a strongly-worded letter to the PDP patron opposing any alliance with the BJP.

However, some party members said Mehbooba spoke to BJP president Amit Shah last week to open channels between the two parties while there have been no attempts to start a formal dialogue with the Congress that has offered unconditional support to keep the BJP at bay.

“May be our past experience together is making the PDP wary,” a senior Congress leader said. In 2008, the PDP pulled out of an alliance with the Congress following protests over forest land being given to Amarnath pilgrims.

The PDP is caught in a situation where it does not want to discount the Jammu mandate — where the BJP won all its seats — but at the same time, wants to address apprehensions of people in the Kashmir Valley about the BJP’s ideological stance on a number of issues, including Article 370.

Sources said a senior legislator pointed out during the consultations that several constituencies voted to keep the BJP at bay in the Kashmir Valley, where it failed to make any inroads.

Party spokesperson Nayeem Akhtar admitted it was going to be a tough call for the PDP. “We will get feedback from people in some days and will get clarity after that,” he said.

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