J-K suspense on; BJP eyes chief minister's post, tie-up with NC

  • HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Srinagar/Jammu
  • Updated: Dec 26, 2014 09:12 IST

The National Conference (NC) and People's Democratic Party (PDP) willing to do business with it in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP was eyeing the chief minister's post in the border state, sources said.

With the NC as its first choice, the BJP was holding internal discussions on what it could offer in bargain to the regional party. A Rajya Sabha berth for outgoing chief minister Omar Abdullah was also being considered, party sources said. It could open doors for Omar to join the Modi government.

In Jammu, finance minister Arun Jaitley said, "Whoever forms the government, the BJP must have a crucial role in it." The decision on the BJP's role had been left to party chief Amit Shah, Jaitley, the party's central observer for the state, said.

"So many stories doing the rounds about a BJP-NC deal. Let me say this as strongly as possible - there is no deal nor any discussion going on," Omar tweeted late in the night. But, he chose to remain silent on a possibility of an alliance with the BJP.

Voters threw up a hung House in J-K when results for the 87-member assembly were declared on December 23 after five phases of voting spread over a month.

The BJP clocked its best-ever performance in the state with 25 seats but fell way short of its stated Mission 44+, the majority mark. The PDP emerged as the biggest party with 28 seats and the ruling NC managed 15.

In Delhi, BJP leaders were counting on the support of at least four of the seven "other" MLAs to cross the magic figure of 44 along with the NC.

"While a Hindu CM would be a hugely significant development, we are not talking about it yet. All we want is that the BJP should have right to the CM's post, given its numbers," said a BJP leader.

The J-K verdict is deeply polarised - with the Muslim-majority Valley decisively rejecting the BJP, which got all its seats in the Hindu-dominated areas of Jammu.

Another leader said the BJP could support Omar for a Rajya Sabha berth when four seats from J-K fall vacant in February.

His father Farooq, recuperating in London after a kidney transplant, could be "suitably rehabilitated", BJP leaders indicated. Omar, who was a minister in the Vajpayee government for over a year, told HT on Wednesday that if the BJP was not untouchable to the PDP, why should it be for the NC?

With the PDP keeping all its options open, the BJP is hoping to get NC on its side. The Congress, on the other hand, had not got any response to its offer of support to the PDP, sources said.

Adding to the suspense, three newly-elected MLAs announced support to a "secular" government.

There were reports that Omar met Shah and Jaitley to discuss a possible tie-up. But both Omar and BJP general secretary Ram Madhav denied them. "News about BJP leaders meeting NC leadership in Delhi baseless," Madhav tweeted. Omar re-tweeted the message.

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