SRINAGAR: Amid realignment of political forces, the emergence of a Third Front with the BJP’s support as an alternative to two major regional parties in Jammu and Kashmir seems possible.
The civic polls, which were boycotted by the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party, saw separatist-turned-mainstream politician Sajjad Lone emerge as a focal point of the new realignment for the BJP.
Sajjad managed to pull out NC spokesman Junaid Mattu from the party before the civic polls. Junaid was rewarded with the Srinagar mayor’s post.
Also, Sajjad has support of PDP rebels Imran Ansari and his uncle Abid Ansari, who had rebelled against PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti after the fall of the PDP-BJP coalition government in June. The Ansaris have the support of one PDP MLA and two MLCs.
Political analyst Aadil Ahmad said the joining of hands by Sajjad, Mattu and the disgruntled PDP leaders indicate that this was a part of serious effort to set up Third Front in Kashmir. “With backing from the BJP, this Front may try to present itself as an alternative to the NC and the PDP,” he said.
Moreover, there are chances of more disgruntled elements from the NC, the PDP and even the Congress joining hands with Sajjad and the Ansaris.
Sources said PDP heavyweight and former finance minister Haseeb Drabu is also in contact with Sajjad and the Ansaris. Incidentally, Drabu shares good ties with BJP general secretary Ram Madhav.
Four years ago, the BJP fell short of the magic figure of 44 by 19 seats only. Even 10 seats in the Kashmir Valley would give the BJP a window to form the government without support from the NC and the PDP.
While Sajjad holds sway in Kupwara, the Ansaris have considerable influence in Shia-dominated areas of at least five Assembly constituencies in central and north Kashmir. Drabu also has some following in Pulwama. “If Sajad and Ansaris manage to pull out some members from NC, PDP and Congress having some support base, then the Third Front can really help the BJP form the next government,” Aadil said.
PDP rebel MLA Abid Ansari told The Sunday Standard that the Third Front would prove to be an alternative to the NC and the PDP, who were playing with emotions of the people, especially those from the Kashmir Valley. “I am holding talks with PDP leaders and many will join us soon.”
He added Sajjad was in contact with NC and Congress leaders. “The Front will be a strong force, and all its leaders will have a mass popularity. Before the Assembly polls, the Front will be in place,”Ansari asserted.
J&K Guv favours early election
Governor Satya Pal Malik is in favour of holding early election in Jammu and Kashmir. Malik feels it is tough now to form a popular government out of the present House, after the collapse of the Mehbooba Mufti-led BJP-PDP coalition government in June. The present Assembly’s tenure ends in December 2020. But, with no party willing to take the lead, the state is now under the Governor’s rule for the last five months.