PDP suggests grand alliance with NC, Congress

PDP suggests grand alliance with NC, Congress
The PDP today came out with the idea of a "grand alliance" with its arch rival National Conference (NC) and the Congress to form the new government in Jammu and Kashmir, introducing a new element in the power sweepstakes.

Amid reports that the PDP, the single largest party with 28 members in the 87-strong Assembly, was warming up to BJP, second with 25 MLAs in the hung House, for the first time it spoke of the possibility of a tie up with NC and Congress both of whom have extended support to it.

Making a bid for getting into power for the first time in the Muslim-majority state, BJP has held talks with both the PDP as well as the NC, which has verbally promised its support to keep out the saffron party.

PDP chief spokesman Nayeem Akthar's statement that a grand alliance between the party, NC and Congress "was also an option" to form a stable government led to speculation on whether it was a tactic to put pressure on BJP to which PDP has set tough conditions including retention of Art 370 that grants special status to the state.

Meanwhile, Nirmal Singh, MLA who was Chairman of BJP's campaign committee during the elections, said in New Delhi tonight that his party is in talks with other parties and "all our options are open".

Meanwhile, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti is slated to meet Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra on Wednesday for discussing government formation.

"The meeting of Mehbooba Mufti, Member of Parliament and President of Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with the Governor has been advanced to take place on Wednesday at the Raj Bhavan in Jammu," a Raj Bhavan spokesman said today.

Vohra had on Friday invited Mehbooba and BJP state unit president Jugal Kishore Sharma for separate meetings to hold discussion on formation of government in the state.
PDP, which is holding intra-party discussions on possible alliances to form the next government in the state, has asked its newly-elected MLAs to go back to their constituencies for getting feedback from their constituents.

At the end of two days of informal consultations with the party MLAs, PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed told them that they should go back to their respective areas to sense the mood of the people on the possibility of allying with the BJP for formation of the next government, PDP sources said.

The sources said the PDP patron wants to build a consensus within the party before Mehbooba Mufti meets the Governor. On Saturday, PDP set tough conditions for BJP which is wooing it for the formation of the new government in the state, declaring that its stand against revocation of Art 370 was "non-negotiable".

In the midst of these deliberations, NC president Farooq Abdullah and working president Omar Abdullah today issued a gag order to the party leaders asking them to desist from speaking to the media over policy issues including the post-assembly-poll scenario.

"Farooq and Omar have authorized NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, provincial presidents for Jammu and Kashmir Devender Singh Rana and Nasir Aslam Wani respectively and spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu to speak on behalf of the party on policy issues including the post-assembly-polls policy and stands of the party," the party said in a statement here.

It said the statements made by the other party leaders should be taken as their personal opinions. The NC said the party general secretary would coordinate briefings among these office bearers.

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