PDP divided as MLAs cut up about possible BJP alliance
Stark divisions within the People's Democratic Party (PDP) over a possible alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) surfaced on Monday with several legislators expressing their reservations about it.
One MLA even shot off a strongly-worded letter to PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.
Sources said Mushtaq Shah, the newly-elected legislator from south Kashmir's Tral constituency, wrote a letter to Mufti opposing any alliance with the saffron party.
The party leaders, which include Sayeed and his daughter and party president Mehbooba Mufti, have started consultations with the party leaders and the newly-elected 28 legislators over the possible alliances in the wake of a hung assembly, where BJP has merged second largest party with 25 MLAs.
The PDP legislators have been asked to gather a feedback from their respective constituencies on any alliance with the BJP.
Another senior member of PDP from south Kashmir has pointed out to the party leaders during the consultations that voters in several constituencies voted to keep the BJP at bay in Kashmir valley, said sources.
During the election campaign, ex-PDP legislator Peer Mansoor described the BJP ruling the state as "the biggest curse".
While the party is facing strong opposition voices from several legislators in south, central Kashmir and Srinagar, big names like Muzaffar Hussain Baig are in favour of a government with the BJP given the fact it rules in New Delhi and need to be engaged for development of the state.
Sources added that a significant section of the party is interested to do business with the BJP on their terms and conditions.
They said the PDP is caught up in a situation where it does not want to discount Jammu mandate, but at the same time, address apprehensions of people of Kashmir valley regarding controversial ideological positions of the BJP over a slew of matters, which include Article 370.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti is likely to visit Jammu in the coming days and seek a ground report from his party leaders there. She has been assigned to weigh the prospectus of the Congress alliance too.
"My input for the party is to have every region on board. Sometimes one has to rise above the party lines to deliver," PDP national spokesman Dr Sameer Kaul told HT after his meeting with Sayeed.