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BJP sniffs power in J&K, steps up bid

This was the clear  message that emanated from BJP’s state unit head. After emerging as the second largest party in Jammu and Kashmir polls, BJP today expressed confidence that the next Chief Minister of the state will be from the party.

As celebrations continued at party’s Jammu office, party state unit president and Jammu MP Jugal Kishore Sharma said, “It is a historic victory  for the BJP, it is the victory of the people of the state and we will work for the people who showed their confidence in us. I tell you that the next Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir will be from BJP.”

The party’s parliamentary board in its meeting on Wednesday, appointed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as observer for the election of the legislature party leader. While the leader would get elected, the foremost question is with just 25 MLAs in the 87 member house, how does the BJP propose to make the government?

“We we can be the kingmaker, we could also be the king,” said a senior party leader in Delhi, who is known to be quite clued with the J&K affairs. “If the Congress with 12 MLAs can hope to be the kingmaker, we with double their numbers can definitely be the king,” he added. 

At the Ashoka Road party office in the national Capital, strategists quickly did the poll math, “We are the largest group with 25 from BJP, two from Sajjad Lone’s Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference and two independents, who are party rebels, adding upto 29, one more than Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s PDP’s 28.” Does that mean that Governor NN Vohra could be persuaded to invite the group cobbled together by the BJP before inviting PDP?

“Constitutionally that would be unethical as Congress has already declared its intention of supporting Mufti’s government provided it seeks its support. Together with the Congress, the PDP adds up to 40 seats, far more than the BJP-combine. But we still do not know what are PDP’s intentions,” said a Congress leader. PDP and Congress have worked together in the past and with the support of lone CPM MLA assured for any non-BJP government, putting together a combination looks quite viable.
The PDP plans, however, could go astray if the NC with its 15 MLAs decides to support the BJP, making Mission 44 look feasible. 

“But a politically more mature Omar Abdullah would be a tough customer to bargain but being more liberal than the PDP in its approach vis-a-vis New Delhi, he would be a more acceptable to party rank and file,” said a BJP leader.

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