SRINAGAR: Handing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) a clear advantage of thinking beyond saffron party BJP in its government formation efforts in the State, five independent candidates including two, whom Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had claimed were backed by National Conference (NC), have expressed their willingness to support PDP-led regime.
Omar had claimed that two independent legislators – MLA Zanskar Syed Muhammad Baqir Rizvi and MLA Udhampur Pawan Gupta – were backed by NC and would go with the party.
MLA Zanskar Syed Muhammad Baqir Rizvi, told Express that he is ready to support PDP-led regime in the State.
The results threw up a hung house with PDP emerging as the single-largest party with 28 seats and BJP close second with 25 seats in 87-member J&K Assembly. NC and Congress won 15 and 12 seats respectively while the smaller parties and independent candidates managed to won seven seats.
With BJP and PDP sticking to their key issues including AFSPA and Article 370 in talks on government formation, the support of independents becomes vital in forming non-BJP government in the State and reaching magical figure of 44 for forming the government.
Rizvi, who defeated Ghulam Raza of Congress by a margin of 566 votes in Zanskar, said he had supported NC for 35 years and NC also supported him this time.
“I am not proxy of NC and my options are open. If NC is unable to form a government, then I will definitely support PDP-led regime in the State,” he said adding he does not want to sit in opposition.
Asked whether NC or PDP have contacted him, he said leaders of both parties have contacted him.
MLA Udhampur, Pawan Gupta, whom also Omar claimed was supported by his party, said he was not supported by any party but won the elections on his own.
“Let me make it clear that I was neither supported by NC, nor Congress or any other party. I won elections on my own,” Gupta told Express.
He said he was ready to support PDP-Congress coalition with certain conditions.
Three Valley based independent candidates – Hakim Yaseen (MLA Khan Sahib), Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami (CPIM State Secretary and MLA Kulgam) and Engineer Abdul Rashid (MLA Langate) have already expressed their willingness to support non-BJP government in the State.
With Rizvi, Gupta and three other independent candidates expressing their willingness to support PDP-led regime, it has opened options for PDP to think beyond BJP.