SRINAGAR – Here’s conclusive proof that there are no lasting enemies in politics. The People’s Democratic Party is toying with the idea of a "grand alliance" with its arch rival National Conference (NC) and the Congress to form the new government in Jammu and Kashmir, as party president Mehbooba Mufti prepares to meet Governor NN Vohra on the last day of the year to discuss government formation.
PTI reported that PDP, the single largest party with 28 members in the 87-strong Assembly, was warming up to BJP, second with 25 MLAs in the hung House, for the first time it spoke of the possibility of a tie up with NC and Congress both of whom have extended support to it.
BJP has held talks with both the PDP as well as the NC, which has verbally promised its support to keep out the saffron party. PDP chief spokesman Nayeem Akthar's statement that a grand alliance between the party, NC and Congress "was also an option" to form a stable government led to speculation on whether it was a tactic to put pressure on BJP to which PDP has set tough conditions including retention of Art 370 that grants special status to the state.
Meanwhile, Nirmal Singh, MLA who was Chairman of BJP's campaign committee during the elections, said in New Delhi tonight that his party is in talks with other parties and "all our options are open".
"The meeting of Mehbooba Mufti, Member of Parliament and President of Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with the Governor has been advanced to take place on Wednesday at the Raj Bhavan in Jammu," a Raj Bhavan spokesman said.
Vohra had sent separate letters to the PDP and the Bharatiya Janata Party to come forward to discuss possibilities of government formation in the state where the recent assembly election threw up a hung assembly.
He had broken precedent by sending letters to two political parties to discuss government formation while normally he should have sent such a communication to the single largest party.
Raj Bhavan sources told IANS that while the PDP had emerged as the single-largest party in elections, the BJP had claimed support of six independents who had won the elections and this necessitated a separate letter to them as well.
The new assembly has to be constituted before Jan 16 when the term of the outgoing assembly ends.
Although spokesmen of both the PDP and the BJP have refused to confirm it, top sources in both these parties have told IANS the two are in the final stage of stitching an alliance to claim power in the state.
Congress has offered its "constructive support" in formation of a "secular government" in Jammu and Kashmir maintaining that PDP being the single largest party has the "legal, moral and constitutional' right to do so.
Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi also recounted the remarks of Congress President Sonia Gandhi in which she had said that since Congress did not get the mandate, others will have to form the government.
"We are here to give constructive support to any genuine secular formation," Singhvi said, adding that Congress' position on this issues is based on two premises -- one that it has not got the mandate and that it was for others to work out how to form the government and that the PDP being the largest party has the "legal, moral and Constitutional" right to form a government in Jammu and Kashmir. He also dismissed questions over possibility of President's Rule in the state saying "Elections have happened just a week ago and it will be absurd to talk about President Rule."
IBNLive quoted PDP sources as saying that party patriarch Mufti Mohammad Sayeed feels the "grand alliance", if formed, will be representative of the three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
The report said the PDP has declared that its stand against revocation of Article 370 was "non-negotiable". "We have also made it clear that AFSPA should be withdrawn where it is not needed following improvement in the situation," PDP chief spokesperson Naeem Akhtar said. (Inputs from agencies)