With an intention to not let Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regain power in Jammu and Kashmir, rival parties are said to be in talks to join hands to form the government. According to sources, Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP, the Congress and the National Conference are in talks with each other to form a coalition government in the region.
Jammu and Kashmir has been under Governor’s rule since BJP pulled out of the ruling coalition with PDP on June 16. Governor’s rule cannot be extended after it completes its six-month period on December 19. According to the Governor, Satyapal Mallik, though there are proposals to impose President’s rule thereafter the 87-member Assembly is not being dissolved.
There have been speculations amongst various political circles that confidentially, efforts were in progress to prop up a government headed by Sajjad Lone’s People Conference. Though People Conference has only two MLAs, it would be banking on support by the 25 MLAs of BJP. However, this combination would fall short of the required majority of 44 which is sought to be made by splitting the PDP which has been rocked by dissidence.
The sources reveal that the mainstream parties, primarily the PDP, Congress and National Conference, who are apprehensive about a BJP backed government in the valley, have planned to get together to form a government.
According to the plan which is being conceptualised, the PDP and Congress would form a coalition government backed from outside by the National Conference. The National Conference has made it clear though, that they are not interested in joining a coalition government, but would provide support from the outside, said sources. The PDP has 28 MLAs, followed by NC with 15 and Congress with 12 which will, presumably, make up for a clear majority.
If such an arrangement comes about, Mehbooba Mufti is unlikely to be the chief minister but the government may be headed by a senior PDP leader.
The J&K’s political scenario, this year, has seen many highs and lows with the BJP on 19th June deciding to pull out of the alliance with PDP in Jammu and Kashmir saying it is “untenable” for the coalition to continue. The National General Secretary of the BJP, Ram Madhav while speaking to the media had reiterated that “Keeping in mind larger interest of India’s security and integrity, the fact is that J&K is an integral part of India, in order to bring control over the situation prevailing in the state we have decided that the reigns of power in the state be handed over to the Governor.”
In the 87-member legislative assembly in Jammu and Kashmir, the magic number to form the government with simple majority stands at 44. The PDP in its desperation to get back the reigns has reportedly decided to get together with NC, which is known to be a bitter rival of the PDP.
PDP too seems to be going the Congress way. These sort of opportunistic alliances has become the latest strategy of the Congress party to match wits with the BJP. Getting together of parties with no common ideologies, just to gain power, has been the latest game plan the Congress has adopted, which in few instances has already boomeranged at them.
Lately, the ‘opportunistic alliance’ between Congress and JD(S) in Karnataka is a perfect example of this impetuousness. Craving to form the government in Karnataka, which was evidently nothing but a compromise, the Congress and the JD(S) now, seems to be constantly grappling to accommodate each other.
Earlier, Kumaraswamy had broken down saying he is swallowing the poison and had accused certain Congress leaders of ‘tormenting’ him. In August, the rift within the JDS-Congress alliance had reportedly widened as former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah had expressed his wishes to become the chief minister again.
Congress has been trying hard to devise such ‘opportunistic alliances’ to portray a strong anti-BJP stand for the upcoming 2019 elections. However, internal turmoils and drifts which have been exposed so far depict that the ballgame the Congress is brewing might just slip out of its own hands, and leave the party oscillating.