BJP in dialogue with J&K parties to form 'stable government'

A day after People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti said it was time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “reach out” to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has asserted its committment to forming a stable government in the state.

In the recent Assembly poll, the PDP emerged the single largest party with 28 out of 87 seats, while the BJP got 25. The National Conference managed 15 seats and the Congress garnered 12.

The hung verdict had triggered speculation about the formation of the new Jammu and Kashmir government and the suspense continued for the tenth day on Thursday.

BJP state unit chief Jugal Kishore Sharma sought more time from Governor N N Vohra to arrive at a decision, saying that the dialogue process with other parties was still underway.

“There are many issues that need to be discussed and that is why it is taking time. But we were committed to forming a stable government in the state,” he said after meeting the governor with a BJP delegation. Sharma evaded questions about whether the BJP was in touch with the PDP or NC to form government. “We can just say that the process is on and you will get the details in coming days.”

Among the BJP delegates who met Vohra was Avinash Rai Khanna, an MP and party in-charge of J&K affairs. He said the BJP was in constant touch with other parties to form a stable government.

“When we sit together and discuss the issue of government formation, we can come out with a ‘common minimum programme’ and form a joint agenda to run the government. BJP wants a stable government in Jammu and Kashmir so that all the three regions will be benefited. We are not in a rush,” Khanna said. He added that a formal announcement about the new government would be made in a few days. The term of the outgoing Assembly ends on January 19, by which time a new government must be formed. Failing this, governor’s rule would be imposed in the state.

When questioned about the BJP’s demands that the chief minister should be from the Jammu region, Khanna quipped: “Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh constitute one state and the chief minister would be from the state of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Mehbooba Mufti has on Wednesday hinted that the PDP may be open to forging an alliance with the BJP to form a “stable and inclusive” government. After an hour-long meeting with the governor, she told reporters that people had given a “decisive but divided” mandate, which had thrown a challenge to the political leadership in the state as well as at the national level. Smaller parties and independents won seven seats in the 87-member legislative Assembly.

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