8:27 am - Wednesday November 4, 2015

In Jammu and Kashmir, BJP Not Inclined to Tie up With PDP: Sources

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Despite its big gains in Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP indicated on Tuesday that it is disinclined to form government in alliance with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which is set to be the largest party in what is emerging as a hung assembly.

At 1.45 pm, the PDP was leading in 30 of the state’s 87 seats. The BJP was a close second with 26 seats. The National Conference was leading in 13 and the Congress, in 12.

Senior BJP leaders said they were not in favour of an alliance with the PDP and believed that its natural partner is the Congress.

Sources said the party does not see much common ground ideologically with the PDP of Mufti Mohammad Saeed, who seems best placed to be the next chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, a post he has held before.

But the party also appeared to be keeping its options open, with leaders saying they would keep in mind “development and interests of the people.”

The BJP’s parliamentary board, its highest decision making committee, is expected to take a final call tomorrow. “If the PDP wants to go with the Congress so be it. We will be working in the Opposition in that case,” said the BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi.

The Congress has said it is open to a truck with the PDP. “We are always open. We would never go with the BJP. As for PDP and National Conference, we have had an alliance with them in the past too,” said senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad as the party hovered at the fourth position.

While the PDP has so far been noncommittal, a senior leader said it would be easier for his party to go with the Congress than the BJP. “It will be easier for the PDP and the Congress to come together because we had a common minimum programme with the Congress and it will be easier,” said Muzaffar Hussain Baig, a PDP lawmaker.

Earlier in the day, as results rolled in and it became obvious that the PDP would be the largest party in the state, its Naeem Akhtar said, “It is too early to talk of a tie-up with the BJP,” also adding, “we will have to engage with the BJP” as it is in power at the Centre.

Mr Akhtar had said then that to go with the Congress will be like going with the National Conference, “which has lost its mandate.”

The Congress ended its alliance with the National Conference before the election.

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