NEW DELHI: A day after the elections results in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP appears to be increasing its bargaining power with the other political parties in the state.
Sources said the BJP was hoping to get support from more MLAs, including some independents, to increase its numbers from the current 25 to exceed the PDP tally of 28 seats. The BJP’s highest decision-making body, Parliamentary Board, met here on Wednesday. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and party secretary Arun Singh, who were appointed observers for Jammu and Kashmir, are likely to travel to the state in the next a few days to explore alliances with other parties.
The choice before the BJP is the PDP and the National Conference, which won 15 seats. “The mandate in Jammu region is for the BJP where it won 25 seats. No government can be formed in the state which doesn’t take into account the mandate of this region,” a senior BJP leader involved in the confabulations said.
The BJP leader said they were hopeful of forming the government in J&K as considerable “ground work” had already been done in the state. Party strategists even hinted that it facilitated the National Conference to win a few seats in the Valley, which otherwise would have given a sweeping mandate to the PDP.
“What if the PDP had won 37 seats, the situation would have been entirely different. As the NC managed to win 15 seats, it provides a balancing act in the state,” a BJP source said, adding that the BJP was working in the manner to win more seats that the PDP. The BJP narrowly lost in three seats. Otherwise the saffron party’s bargaining power would have been different, a leader added.
BJP state president Jugal Kishore apparently ‘jumped the gun’ saying, “It is a historic victory for the BJP, it is the victory of the people of the state and we will work for the people who reposed their confidence in us. I tell you that the next Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir will be from the party.”
If what Kishore said were to come true, the BJP was keeping “all its options” open and it could even align with the NC to form a government in the border state. This in turn would give Muslim-majority state its first Hindu CM. The NC, in the past, had been an alliance partner in the NDA-I Government.
However, as the PDP has won a clear mandate in the Valley, the local sentiment would be that a government, which has the BJP and the PDP, ought to be formed. The BJP will even explore the idea of sharing half-term -- three years -- in hoisting its CM in turns.
The BJP said the party got the highest vote share in the state ahead of the PDP. It even got 50,000 more votes in the Valley than the last Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP Parliamentary Party meeting, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah, ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, and Arun Jaitley among others, also deputed minister J P Nadda and party vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe as observers for Jharkhand.
A BJP leader agreed that the argument was loaded in favour of having a tribal leader as the CM in Jharkhand. As none of states like Chattisgarh, MP has a tribal CM, the argument goes that a tribal be made a CM to give message to the entire community.