NEW DELHI: The BJP will complete its successful run at hustings, in 2014, by forming a majority government in Jharkhand and aim to form a government in Jammu and Kashmir.
The BJP will decide on its Chief Minister for Jharkhand at the party’s highest decision-making body, Parliamentary Board, on Wednesday morning, but the saffron party’s real test would come in being part of the government in Jammu and Kashmir, a state that has been high on the party’s ideological sphere.
The BJP may have fallen short of its ambitious ‘Mission 44’ target by 19 seats, but sources said the party would certainly aim to be part of the government in the border state. With an air of triumph, BJP chief Amit Shah declared that results were according to the party’s expectations, and all options were open before it. “We are now a relevant democratic party in Kashmir,” he declared.
Shah listed three options in Jammu and Kashmir-- forming the government, supporting another party from outside, and even joining the government.
Sources said given the BJP’s ideological agenda -- first enunciated by its founding father Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, who wanted integration of state with the rest of the country, it would like to be part of the government in Kashmir rather than provide outside support.
Only by being part of the government in Kashmir can the BJP, with the help of the Centre, increase its footprint in the Valley, where all but one of its 34 candidates forfeited their deposit. The BJP won 25 seats, while the PDP 28, the National Conference 15, the Congress 12, and others won seven seats in the 87-member Assembly.
Among the options before the party are aligning with the PDP that has emerged as the single largest party in the state.
Though it may need some tight ropewalk in aligning with the PDP that has made its stance clear on controversial issues such as Article 370 and AFSPA, BJP sources said it found the PDP leadership more amenable in running a government than forming a government with the National Conference.
The support from the two MLAs belonging to Sajjad Lone’s People’s Conference can lend weight to the BJP, along with some independents, making the saffron party a bigger group in the state than the PDP, thus increasing its heft in the state. The BJP had an alliance with the NC in the past, so it is also keeping its options open on that front.
During his nine elections rallies in Kashmir, Modi had promised development, without touching on the controversial issues.
Shah said the victory in both J&K and Jharkhand was a stamp of approval of Modi’s six-month rule.
It is the first time in Jharkhand’s history that the people have given a clear mandate, Shah declared. The BJP, along with its ally, the AJSU, won 42 seats in the 81-member House.
Now, the choice before the party would be between hoisting a tribal face as the CM or a non-tribal. With the tribals constituting a significant population in not just Jharkhand but even in the neighbouring states of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, the BJP may find much merit in the selection a tribal to become a CM.
But the “shocking loss” of former Chief Minister Arjun Munda, may now make the party look for suitable candidate. At the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting, the party is likely to depute a senior leader to oversee the selection of the CM by elected MLAs.