NC adds twist to J&K govt search, offers to back PDP

SRINAGAR (TIP): Post-poll manoeuvres over government formation and the likelihood of Jammu and Kashmir being placed under Governor’s rule kept politics on the boil even as National Conference claimed it had offered unconditional support to PDP and the latter denied it vehemently.

NC’s move came just as reports of BJP’s negotiations with PDP gathered momentum and speculation about terms and conditions started doing the rounds. Although negotiations eventually hit a wall over the stiff terms set by PDP leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, they had stirred the political cauldron raising enough mist about who was talking to whom and on what conditions.

Sources said BJP-PDP talks got stalemated over Mufti’s demands for a full-year tenure as CM, gradual withdrawal of AFSPA and an iron-clad guarantee that politicians from Jammu (read BJP) would not meddle in the affairs of Kashmir Valley and others.

Sources said BJP rejected the conditionalities as unacceptable.

But by then NC had stepped into the game with the claim that it had followed up outgoing CM Omar Abdullah’s public statement of unconditional support to PDP with a verbal offer which was conveyed by a trusted intermediary. NC leader Devendra Rana said: “The NC has verbally offered unconditional support. It is a fractured verdict this time and for the stability of the state and smooth functioning of the government, we are offering support to the single largest party.”

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JK Guv invites proposals from PDP, BJP on govt formation

Governor NN Vohra on December 26 set the ball rolling for a viable government formation by asking the single largest party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the close runner-up, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to come up with their proposals to form the government in Jammu and Kashmir by January 1, it is learnt from reliable sources. Sources said that the Governor sent two separate letters inviting the PDP and BJP to come out with their respective ideas of forming the next government. The deadline set for them is almost a week away. Sources said that the identical letters written to the two parties made a mention of an unclear mandate that emerged out of the results of the recently concluded Assembly elections on Tuesday. It stated that the exercise was aimed at the formation of the government before the expiry of the current Assembly. The term of the current Assembly ends on January 17. The parties have been asked to meet the Governor at their mutual convenience on January 1. The PDP has 28 MLAs and BJP has 25. Neither party has numbers close to 44 — the simple majority in the House of 87. But as they were close to each other seat-wise, hence, the two letters, which may also test their claim that they have the support of the Independents. These letters have been addressed to PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and Jugal Kishore Sharma, the state unit president of the BJP, as neither of the two have elected their legislature party leader till date.

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