SRINAGAR: In a significant accomplishment, the BJP has become the single largest party in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council, the upper house of the state assembly.
The party has now 11 lawmakers in the 33- member Council, followed by its ally PDP with 10 members while the opposition National Conference and Congress have six legislators each.
Both the ruling alliance partners BJP and PDP had 11 members each in the upper house. However, the PDP MLC Vikramaditya Singh, the grandson of J-K's last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, resigned both from the party and the Council seat.
He resigned after differences with the PDP leadership over some issues including the government's refusal to declare public holiday in the State on his grandfather’s birthday on September 23.
With Singh’s resignation being accepted by the Council chairman, three seats are lying vacant in the Legislative Council, whose total strength is 36. Two other seats are lying vacant due to non-conduct of urban local bodies elections’ in the valley state.
Being the single largest party in the upper house is a great achievement for the party, which was having only one seat till 2015. During Farooq Abdullah's government from 1996 to 2002, Daya Krishan Kotwal represented the saffron party in the upper house.
The BJP would continue to be the single largest party in the house of elders till the PDP gets one more seat.
The saffron party had never been the single largest party in either of the two houses of the State legislature before the 2014 Assembly elections.
In 2014 Assembly elections, BJP emerged as second largest party in the State with 25 seats and formed coalition government with PDP, which got 28 seats in the 87-member Assembly.
It was for the first time in BJP’s history that it was part of any government in the Muslim-majority State.
State BJP spokesman, Arun Gupta told New Indian Express that the party sees it as a progress towards improvement in the upper house and for betterment of the society.
Asked whether it is eyeing the seat that has fallen vacant after Singh’s resignation, he said, “He had come from a PDP quota and the PDP would retain it”.