BJP Keeps All Options Open In J&K
BJP after winning 25 seats in Jammu and Kashmir made it clear that they want to participate in government formation and would like to have their own Chief Minister. Though they initiated talks with the National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah about Government formation, nothing satisfactory happened.
BJP said that party has kept “all its options open” indicating that they are still looking for the support of Peoples Democratic Front in government formation. In fact, they wanted to play down the talks with Mr. Abdulla.
PDP has won 28 seats and the NC has got 19. BJP is short of the half way mark to form a coalition government. Jammu and Kashmir assembly has 87 members in total. Party MLAs have left the responsibility of government formation to Amit Shah.
The BJP is trying to project themselves as the largest alliance in the valley with 31 members. They claimed that they have the support of two members of the Sajjad Lone’s party and the support of another four independents.
PDP is also weighing their options about forming the coalition. They cannot accept BJP without judging the options as the parties have ideological differences about uniform civil code, Article 370 and AFSPA. The PDP may not want the support of NC as it had bitter experience during the anti-incumbency campaign. They may not want to go to Congress as well because of the poor performance in the elections and the present condition of Congress. PDP is short of 16 seats to touch the magical figure of 44.
PDP has, however hinted about their openness to the partnership with BJP in J&K. They might have the advantage of having a working relationship with BJP as the NDA is in power in the centre. BJP will not settle for anything less than the Chief Minister’s post. PDP also is looking for the Chief Ministership in the state.
BJP has appointed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as the central observer along with national secretary Arun Singh. They visited Jammu after establishing contact with the National Conference. They came back equipped with a resolution passed by the newly elected party MLAs authorizing BJP president Amit Shah to take decisions on government formation.
Mr. Jaitley was escorted by party general secretary Ram Madhav and Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh. The regional parties in the state would want a moratorium on controversial issues on which the BJP’s stand has not been made public yet. The party seems to agree with giving a Rajya Sabha seat and a cabinet berth to the National Conference.