January 18, 2016 6:09:31 pm
The demise of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7 has created a power vacuum in Jammu and Kashmir. With the possibility of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti becoming the next CM, there have been a lot of uncertainity surrounding the continuation of the BJP-PDP alliance in the state.
After a party meeting on Sunday, it was reported that Mehbooba will not overturn her father’s decision and continue the alliance with BJP. Also, the J&K BJP has expressed that they don’t have a problem with Mehbooba taking over the leadership.
Former chief minister and National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah on Sunday denied that his party was ready to consider forming a government with BJP in the state. The clarification came after Farooq Abdullah had said that National Conference is ready to discuss an alliance if BJP comes up with a proposal. He, however, denied it later.
It was also speculated that Congress was trying to approach PDP after Sayeed’s death as party president Sonia Gandhi and senior leaders Ambika Soni and Ghulam Nabi Azad personally went and met Mehbooba Mufti and offered their condolences. However, a PDP-BJP coalition government continuing in the state is a possibility if we look at the latest turn of events. The state is currently under Governor’s Rule and it is on the PDP leadership to take a call and decide its stand. Here is a look at the possible alliances that can be made: The total number of seats in J&K assembly is 87 and PDP had bagged the highest number of seats in 2015 assembly elections. The BJP was the second largest party, followed by National Conference (NC) and Congress. With one seat falling vacant because of Mufti’s death, the House has 86 members. The House also has two nominated members -a PDP loyal Anjum Fazili and BJP loyal Priya Sethi.
If BJP (25 seats) and PDP (27 seats) decide to continue with their alliance then they will not need support from any other party as both the parties have 52 seats combined, while the minimum requirement of seats to form the government is 44. If the PDP-BJP alliance continues it’s not just because of numbers but also because it’s the most stable option available in the state. On the other hand, if PDP decides to join hands with Congress (12 seats) instead of BJP, they would still need support of five more candidates to touch the 44 mark. There are atleast six others who could join a Congress-PDP coalition, including Sajjad Lone’s People’s Conference which has two seats.
There is yet another possibility – BJP joining hands with National Conference. The two parties together make 40 seats. And with support of Sajad Lone, who was a minister in coalition gpcernment under BJP quota, an independent candidate from Jammu who has owed allegiance to BJP, they need just one more member and can rope in PDF’s Hakim Yasin.
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