The PDP authorised its president, Mehbooba Mufti, to take a call on forming the next government in Jammu and Kashmir but set no deadline for a decision, igniting hopes on Sunday of an end to prevailing political uncertainty following the death of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
The party indicated that its alliance with the BJP will continue, which could take the wind out of widespread speculation of a possible political realignment in the state that is now under Governor’s Rule.
“The agenda of alliance is a sacred document for us; it has to be implemented. The party has authorised Mehbooba Mufti to take a final call on government formation,” said senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar following a nearly five-hour-long meeting of the party’s core group.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s visit to Mehbooba Mufti following the death of her father, Sayeed, had prompted conjecture that political equations in the state could be changing.
Sunday’s meeting attended by PDP MPs, former ministers and senior office bearers was also being keenly watched by other political outfits in J&K, with the BJP saying it had no objection to Mehbooba Mufti taking over as chief minister.
“We don’t know what their (PDP’s) stand (on government formation) is, unless we get something official from them, we cannot say anything, but we are hopeful that this alliance will go ahead,” senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function.
National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah, however, called for dissolution of the assembly and fresh elections if the PDP and BJP fail to form a government, a day after saying his party would consider any proposal that comes from the saffron party on government formation.
“I had never said that we are going with BJP, it has to be made clear. I only said that PDP should form the government with the BJP as they have the mandate. I only said that our party can discuss on anything in our working committee,” the
former chief minister clarified.
His son, Omar Abdullah, also an erstwhile CM, said on his Facebook page that his party was not power hungry and would not make an ideological compromise.
“The PDP is an ally of the BJP, and the NC is not obliged to rescue either PDP or BJP from the ensuing stalemate in their standing political alliance,” he posted.
The ideologically divergent PDP and BJP stitched together an alliance after J&K delivered a hung assembly in the 2014 state polls. The coalition had soon run into rough weather over a slew of controversial issues with differences between the two parties often coming to the fore.
However, the PDP on Sunday made it clear that it was satisfied with the way the BJP at the Centre was handling diplomatic ties with Pakistan in light of the Pathankot terror attack.
“It was our moment of glory when Prime Minister Modi went to Lahore when Mufti Sahib was in ICU. Peaceful relations with Pakistan was Mufti Sahib’s dream,” Akhtar said. “Attacks like Pathankot did derail the process but the government took bold decisions in spite of that.”
Speaking to Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity, a senior PDP leader said the party was likely to take a decision in favour of the BJP.
“I have been a part of the government. Now that my leader (Sayeed) is no more, it will be hypocritical of me to part ways,” he said.