PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti (centre) addressing a press conference after her party's win in Assembly election in Srinagar in December. (Press Trust of India photo)
The Peoples Democratic Party has said "no, thank you" to arch rival Omar Abdullah's offer of support to form government in Jammu and Kashmir, where Governor's Rule was imposed last week.
Turning down the offer, PDP chief spokesman Naeem Akhtar said on Wednesday that it is "desperate attempt to negate the election results and convert their defeat into victory." He alleged that Mr Abdullah's National Conference is "trying to return to power through the back door."
On Tuesday, Mr Abdullah had formally handed to the Governor, a letter of support to the PDP, which won the most seats in state elections held last month but is well short of a majority. The state delivered a fractured verdict on December 23 and no party has as yet been able to cobble up numbers to stake claim to government formation.
Mr Adbullah - whose request last week that he be relieved of the charge of caretaker chief minister had hastened Governor's Rule in the state - said he was offering support to the PDP to ensure that Jammu and Kashmir got a government.
It has hit back at the PDP for calling it "power-hungry" saying if that were so, it would have offered support to the BJP. The party has also pointed out that it offered external support to the PDP which meant that it would not join the government.
"If we were interested in being part of a government in J&K, we could have aligned with the BJP as it was an option readily available to NC after the election results came out. But unlike the PDP, we are guided by principles and a political ideology that is rooted in the aspirations and sentiments of our people," said Ali Mohammad Sagar of the National Conference.
The BJP has won 25 seats in the Jammu and Kashmir elections, three less than the PDP's 28. The National Conference has 15 MLAs and the Congress has 12. Both the PDP and the BJP have been engaged in negotiations with each other and other parties to stitch up alliances.
But more than three weeks after election results were declared, the state, where people turned up in record numbers to vote, is no closer to having a government.
A new government is required to be constituted in the state before January 19 when the term of the current Assembly expires.