Kashmir in suspense over govt formation; BJP in bargaining position

  • PTI, Srinagar
  • Updated: Dec 26, 2014 19:35 IST

Contours of government formation in Jammu and Kashmir appeared hazy on Friday with BJP and PDP trying hard to hammer out a workable arrangement with various stakeholders.

Speculation continued over PDP, with 28 members in the 87-member Assembly, either tying up with BJP having 25 members or aligning with Congress(12 MLAs) with outside support of 15-member National Conference.

PDP sources said the party was not ready for rotational chief ministership with BJP.

Another PDP leader said with the support of Congress and some Independents, the party will be in a position to reach the halfway mark of 44.

In Jammu, Congress spokesman Salman Nizami said the party was in touch with PDP and six other Independents to prevent BJP from coming to power in the state.

For the record, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said his party was holding consultations with all important stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir for providing a stable government.

The BJP leader, who has held a series of meetings with leaders of Valley-based political parties including PDP's Muzaffar Hussain Baig, said the prime minister had a grand vision for development of the state.

"To realise this dream, we have to provide a government that will put the state on development track," Madhav, who flew back to Delhi, said.

"We are meeting with all important stakeholders and our aim is to provide a stable and credible government," he told reporters in Srinagar.

On his talks with PDP since his arrival in Srinagar on Thursday, Madhav said the talks were still at initial stages.

"PDP is an important stakeholder and has got a major mandate. Mufti (Mohammad Sayeed) has a five-decade long political career and is respected not only in the state but across the country.

"National Conference also has got substantial number of seats. It was part of the NDA during (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee's tenure (as prime minister)," he noted.

Madhav, however, skirted a question on which of the two parties would BJP prefer to ally with, saying it was not about the party but a choice of providing a stable and credible government.

Against the backdrop of the Jammu unit of the BJP insisting on getting a shot at chief ministership, Madhav said the issue was not discussed with either PDP or any other stakeholder.

"Talks have not reached that stage yet. We are still at the initial stages," he insisted.

On reports that Sayeed was heading for Delhi for a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said this was not on the cards yet. "No such thing is on the cards right now," he said.

Asked how long the government formation is going to take, Madhav said no timeline can be set.

BJP, which has drawn a blank in the Valley, has to factor this reality in its talks with other stakeholders. The 25 seats it has won are all from the Jammu region.

Independent MLA from Langate, Abdul Rashid Sheikh asserted that he will not be part of any dispensation in which BJP is involved.

In Delhi, CPI(M) accused BJP of trying to "impose its political design" in the state, saying this should be resisted in the "interest of the unity" of the state and safeguarding its special status.

"The formation of the government of Jammu and Kashmir has become complicated because of the nature of the result and a hung Assembly. The BJP, which benefited from the polarisation in the Jammu region, is trying to impose its political design in the formation of the government.

"This should be resisted in the interests of the unity of the state and safeguarding its special status," the party said in a statement. CPI(M) has one MLA in the newly-elected Assembly.

"It is imperative that a secular government is formed in Jammu and Kashmir and the secular forces should rise to the occasion keeping in mind the larger interests of the unity and integrity of our country," it said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is holding consultations with his party leaders of the state on government formation had on Thursday said that his party will play a "crucial" role whoever forms the government.

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