Congress, PDP and NC considering coalition, says Ghulam Nabi Azad
Srinagar: Political grapevine in Jammu and Kashmir was agog on Wednesday that the Congress, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC) are engaged in serious parleys to form a coalition government in the state.
Reports here suggest that the three parties want to stymie the efforts of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to support a third front for government formation in the state which is now under Governor's rule ending next month.
Senior PDP leader and former Minister Altaf Bukhari called on National Conference Vice President and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to discuss the modalities of a possible government formation by the PDP and the Congress with NC's support.
As per the constitutional provisions, the state will have to be placed under President's rule next month unless the Governor is convinced that a viable government can be formed.
The reports of a possible government formation by the PDP and the Congress with NC's external support got some credence with senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad confirming to some reporters that talks were going on between the three parties to cobble an alliance that would keep the BJP out of power in the state.
Azad said that although there were no immediate indications of such a government formation, yet talks on these lines were going on between the three parties.
The 87-member state Assembly has 28 MLAs of the PDP, 26 of the BJP, 15 of the NC, 12 of Congress, 2 of People's Conference and 4 independents.
Dissidents of the PDP supported by Sajad Lone's Peoples Conference have been speaking of a government formation in the state with the support of the BJP ever since Governor's rule was imposed.
Despite generating a lot of heat after they defected from the PDP, the dissidents including former Minister Imran Ansari have not been able to muster sufficient numbers to stake claim on government formation.
Sajad Lone has been emerging as the leader of a possible third front that could in the future provide an alternative to the PDP and NC.
Senior PDP leader and Lok Sabha member Muzaffar Hussain Baig ruffled many a feather on Tuesday when he expressed his willingness to join Sajad Lone if a third front was formed in the state.
Governor Satya Pal Malik has said that even if the state was placed under President's rule next month, the state Assembly would not be dissolved.
The Assembly is presently under suspended animation. As long as the Assembly remains intact, there remains a possibility of different political parties trying their luck at government formation even if that means taking arch political rivals on board.
Indicating the formation of a grand alliance in Jammu and Kashmir, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the Congress and regional parties Peoples Democratic Party and National Conference are in talks to explore the possibility of forming a government in the state, reported ANI.
"The parties (Congress, PDP, NC) felt they should come together and explore government formation in Jammu and Kashmir… we are just discussing a proposal, nothing else," Azad said on the potential alliance.
Interestingly, If the alliance materialises it will be the first time traditional rivals PDP and NC will be seen on the same side of the political divide. The PDP has 28 MLAs, NC 15 and Congress 12, which will take the alliance above the majority mark of 44.