Government formation in Jammu and Kashmir remained a puzzle today with the BJP looking for a partner among the state’s mainstream parties but the National Conference (NC) has virtually ruled out a tie up with the saffron party.
BJP, the second largest party with 25 members in the 87-strong Assembly, first explored the option of tying up with NC which has 15 MLAs. The leadership of the two parties is believed to have held discussions which made no headway.
There were persistent reports that the outgoing Chief Minister and NC working President Omar Abdullah met BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi last night but BJP denied that.
A senior NC leader, speaking on the condition of anonymity, made it clear that his party had strong fundamental differences with BJP and that the possibility of NC joining hands with the saffron party was “next to nil”.
This was also borne out by brief comments of Omar who insisted that his surprise offer to support PDP, NC’s arch rival, stood and he was waiting for PDP to respond. “The offer made to PDP is a serious one and was not made lightly. It was for them to take a call,” he told PTI.
Senior BJP leader and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley flew to Jammu to meet the newly elected party MLAs and said thereafter that his party would play a crucial role in government formation as it had the highest popular vote.
The BJP had the “veto power”, said Jaitley who was accompanied by party General Secretary Ram Madhav who later flew here tonight to explore possibilites of government formation.
Meanwhile, PDP’s silence, refelective of its dilemma, continued with no indication as to whether it would go with BJP or accept the support of the National Conference and the Congress which has 12 members.