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PDP offers BJP no breathing space

Suspense over the fate of the possible PDP, BJP alliance deepened on Saturday with the former hardening its stance on poll promises made to the electorate.

People’s Democratic Party on Saturday set tough terms for the BJP which is wooing it for the formation of the new government in  Jammu and Kashmir, declaring that its stand against revocation of Art 370 was “non-negotiable”. Indicating that PDP, with the highest tally of 28 followed by BJP with 25, may find it hard to do business with the saffron party, it also said it was firm on revocation of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). That is unlikely to be acceptable to BJP.
With Governor N N Vohra setting a deadline of January 1 for PDP and BJP to come up with proposals for government formation, behind-the-scenes contacts among the principal players including the National Conference (NC) and the Congress gathered steam.

For the record, PDP said that “all options are open and that no decision has been taken yet” but there were reports it was facing stiff opposition from a large section of its newly-elected MLAs to any truck with the BJP. PDP’s alternative option is to accept the support of the Congress party which has 12 MLAs and the NC, which has 15 in the 87-member Assembly. It is in touch with both the parties as it deals with the dilemma of joining hands with the BJP.

There was speculation in political circles that if the deal with PDP falls through, BJP may present the Governor with a list of 30 MLAs by January 1 to show that it had two more than PDP, raising the remote possibility of it being invited first to take a shot at ministry formation. In such a scenario, the PDP could show the support of at least 55 MLAs including those of the NC and Congress. The BJP maintained on Saturday that it would be involved in government formation. “We have a crucial mandate in Jammu and Kashmir. We will be involved in government formation. Talks are going on. 

Let us see what happens,” party General Secretary Ram Madhav said in New Delhi. He said somehow they wanted to find a way to form a stable government. Things were at a very early stage and no conditions are being discussed.

“The best combination will be a stable government in the state. We will explore what will be the best combination.

“Hesitation, if at all, is there on both sides. BJP has a very important mandate in the state and has secured the highest number of votes and second highest number of seats.

“Naturally, based on the mandate we are trying to give a good government to the state with the help of people who got mandate like PDP and NC. We have to find a way. There is a position where no government can be formed without the support of other parties, Madhav said.

Meanwhile, National Conference president and the outgoing Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, having verbally announced support to PDP, left for London this afternoon to be with his parents, who have undergone surgeries. He is expected to be back only after the New Year. With agency inputs
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