NC hints at coalition with PDP to form govt in J&K

Jammu and Kashmir is under governor rule since June 20, a day after BJP decided to pull out of its alliance with the PDP. The PDP had entered into an alliance with the BJP in March 2015, after the December 2014 Assembly elections threw up a fractured mandate. (PTI File Photo)

A day after senior PDP leader Altaf Bukhari suggested his party and arch-rivals National Conference (NC) should come together to form a government in Jammu and Kashmir, NC on Saturday responded by saying doors of the party were open for anyone seeking to strengthen Article 370 and Article 35A.

Reacting to Bukhari’s statement, NC chief spokesman Agha Ruhullah said that the party had unilaterally offered support to PDP after 2014 elections which they declined. “Our party is not after power and chair, the apprehensions on our part about BJP being in power stand vindicated today,” he said.
 
“(However) if anybody wants to join, the doors of NC are open to those who seek to strengthen Article 370 and Article 35A,” Ruhullah said.
 
Bukhari, who was finance minister in the PDP-BJP alliance government led by Mehbooba Mufti had on Friday said, “This is the right thing to do (to have the NC-PDP alliance) in the present situation when our identity is under attack.”
 
“Both NC and PDP should meet the governor and stake claim to government formation. He (governor) can’t ignore us because we have the numbers. We can also work out the agenda for protection of Article 35A,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a function, here.
 
Both the regional parties – NC and PDP – have boycotted the upcoming urban local bodies (ULB) and Panchayat elections in protest against the government of India’s “silence” to their demand seeking assurance for protection of Article 35A, which doesn’t allow non-locals to buy land or apply for jobs in the state.
 
Jammu and Kashmir is under governor rule since June 20, a day after BJP decided to pull out of its alliance with the PDP. The PDP had entered into an alliance with the BJP in March 2015, after the December 2014 Assembly elections threw up a fractured mandate.
 
In the 87-member state Assembly, where the majority mark is 44, the PDP had 28 lawmakers, BJP 25, NC 15 and the Congress 12. Seven MLAs are from smaller parties or independents.

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NC hints at coalition with PDP to form govt in J&K

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