PDP, BJP open back-channel communication lines
SRINAGAR: The formation of next government in Jammu and Kashmir, where people gave fractured verdict, will take some time even as PDP and BJP have opened back channel “communication lines”.
PDP emerged as single largest party in 87-member J&K Assembly with 28 seats followed by BJP with 25 seats. National Conference (NC) and Congress have won 15 and 12 seats respectively. Two independents supported by NC have won from Udhampur and Zanskar while Sajjad Lone’s Peoples Conference has also won two seats.
Sources said BJP and PDP had opened communication lines yesterday after the election results. “The back-channel talks between the two parties are going on”.
“Communication lines have been opened,” said BJP MP and J&K Incharge Avinash Khanna.
He, however, refused to say whether the communication lines have been opened with PDP or NC.
Khanna said party’s senior leader and finance minister Arun Jaitley will be visiting the State before December 28 for with State party leaders on government formation.
Sources said PDP leadership has been holding discussion on government formation and seeking views from party leaders and newly elected members.
“We are not in hurry to take any decision. We are discussing all options available to us seriously and will take decision after analysis pros and cons of every option. We will take the decision in the best interest of state of nation,” said a senior PDP leader.
Sources said two parties are discussing issues like rotational CM, BJP’s stand on Article 370 and PDP’s self-rule agenda. “The consensus on these key issues is must for the two parties to come closer and evolve Common Minimum Programme (CMP) for any government formation”.
State BJP president Jugal Kishore told reporters in Jammu today that next Chief Minister of the State will be from BJP.
"Getting 25 seats in J&K is a historic victory for the party,” he said and expressed hope that BJP will be able to form next government in the state.
Political observers said this may be a pressure tactics to persuade PDP’s patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who is seen as chief ministerial candidate, for rotational Chief Minister.
Some section of BJP leaders in J&K, according to party sources, want tie-up with NC as they feel the party has been weakened and cannot dictate terms to them.
In a related development Omar Abdullah, who resigned as J&K Chief Minister today but was asked to continue by Governor till new government takes over, said onus of forming government in the Sstate lies on PDP and BJP, two biggest parties.
He, however, did not rule out supporting either BJP or PDP in government formation.
"I am not going to visit Mufti's residence (to offer support). BJP president Amit Shah has not called," he said adding he is not in any mood to make it easy for other parties to form a government.
“It is neither the duty of NC to form the government nor is it our duty to help anyone to form the Government,” Omar said.
He had had yesterday offered his support to PDP in government formation if Mufti Sayeed calls him and seeks his party’s support.
Omar’s tricky offer has put PDP in catch-22 situation.
PDP could have formed alliance with older ally Congress but the party will fall short of at least one member to reach magical figure of 44 even if it gets support of three independents.
With PDP-Congress+ others option not feasible, the second NC+ BJP option has already been ruled out by Omar Abdullah, NC’s working president.
Only the third option PDP+BJP alliance is now available. Both the parties have swept polls in two regions of the Valley – PDP winning most of its 28 seats from Valley and BJP winning all its 25 seats from Jammu region.