NEW DELHI/SRINAGAR: Following the BJP bagging 25 seats in Jammu and Kashmir in the Assembly polls, government formation is like an open chess game now where all possibilities are open, as everyone is short of the half-way mark of 44.
There is now set to be some feverish alliance-making in the offing. The demography-to-seat ratio being what it is, BJP also has the highest vote-share of 23 per cent, one per cent more than the PDP - though the expectations of an NC washout were belied as it still managed 18 per cent. The Congress’ 6.8 per cent vote share gave it a thin but uniform spread-five seats in Jammu and three in Ladakh.
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“Results were not up to our expectations,” PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said. Her party has emerged as single largest party and has the option to either align with its former ally Congress or Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP.
NC’s working president and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has already ruled out alliance with BJP. “We cannot forge an alliance with the saffron party,” he said. Both BJP and Congress have expressed their willingness to support PDP.
If the party ties up with Congress, it would need support of at least four independent candidates and in case it decides to go with BJP, it would not need any other support.
Sources said PDP and BJP have opened communication lines to discuss government formation in the State. “The party leaders are in touch and have discussed the issue,” said a party source.
According to political observers, Mufti is acceptable to people of both regions of the State. “BJP will find it hard to find a person of Mufti’s caliber, which can be acceptable to both regions”.
PDP chief spokesman Nayeem Akhtar told reporters that the party is in no hurry to form the government.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti also kept option of alliance with BJP open saying the people have voted against NC and Congress.
“PDP is exploring all possibilities and will do its best for the welfare of the people. PDP would not cobble up any number just for the sake of arithmetic. Our priority is to make a governance where we can deliver,” she said.
BJP MP and incharge of J&K Affairs, Avinash Khanna told Express that they have kept all options open.
Without ruling out anything, he said the party has emerged as second largest party in the State and will play a key role in government formation. “Our parliamentary board will meet tomorrow and every possibility will be explored to provide stable government to people of J&K,” he said.