BJP holds key to Jammu and Kashmir government formation

Srinagar : Government formation Thursday eluded both the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with the BJP holding the key in Jammu and Kashmir.

Both the NC and the PDP leaders say they are open to discussions regarding an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to cobble a ruling alliance.

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The BJP’s pre-condition of a Hindu chief minister in the state, at least for half the six-year term the new government would have in office, has become the Adam’s apple the NC and the PDP can neither swallow nor throw up.

“That is something we fought elections to stop from happening because of the fact that the only Muslim majority state of the country should not be forced on an emotional issue like that,” said a senior NC leader who also confirmed that as of now the NC favours sitting in the opposition and let the party’s arch rival, the PDP, grapple with the prospect of aligning with the BJP.

The PDP won 28, the BJP 25, the National Conference (NC) 15 and the Congress 12 seats in the 87-member state assembly. Seven Independents also won.

Though the Congress has offered support to the PDP for government formation, the two together make a figure of 40 while they need 44 seats to form a simple majority.

Seven Independents hold the key to government formation, but their leanings are already clear.

The People’s Conference headed by Sajad Lone has two seats and he is believed to have come closer to the BJP after his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi before the elections in the state.

Hakeem Yaseen of the People’s Democratic Front (PDF) has said he would support the BJP while the lone Independent from the Jammu region, Pawan Kumar, is a BJP dissident who fought elections from Udhampur seat. He is likely to return to the BJP in near future.

Syed Bakir Rezvi, who won with NC support from Zanskar in Kargil district, would go either way if promised a ministerial berth, sources told IANS.

This leaves just two others Independent Engineer Rashid and Yusuf Tarigami of the CPM. Tarigami would not support a BJP alliance while Engineer Rashid would finally go where Hakeem Yaseen chooses to go.

Despite Omar Abdullah’s decision that he would not make government formation any easier for either the PDP or the BJP, sources here told IANS the BJP has sent feelers to Omar’s father Farooq Abdullah, who is recovering after a successful kidney transplant surgery in London.

The NC offer of support to the PDP for government formation initially made by Omar On his Twitter account has again been repeated. Despite its repetition, the offer is seen here more as a political taunt than a serious workable proposition.

“Let them approach us in writing and only then would we be able to consider it,” said Altaf Bukhari, PDP candidate who won elections from Amira Kadal in Srinagar district.