Srinagar's Open Season: PDP Raps Leader for 'Unauthorised' Talks With BJP

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Srinagar's Open Season: PDP Raps Leader for 'Unauthorised' Talks With BJP

Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley with Ram Madhav in Jammu on Thursday. (Photo: Press Trust of India)

Srinagar:  The BJP is at the centre of hectic negotiations for government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, where its senior leader Ram Madhav held talks with Muzaffar Hussain Baig of the People's Democratic Party or PDP last night and, sources said, could reach out to Omar Abdullah of the National Conference today.
Here's the latest developments in this story:
  1. Mr Abdullah emphatically denied that his party is in talks with the BJP, tweeting on Thursday night, "So many stories doing the rounds about a BJP NC deal. Let me say this as strongly as possible - THERE IS NO DEAL NOR ANY DISCUSSION going on (sic)."
  2. But the BJP is said to prefer allying with his party over the PDP. BJP legislators want a chief minister from their party and leaders feel, sources said, that it will be easier to install a BJP chief minister in J&K if it partners with Mr Abdullah, who has won 15 seats, much fewer than the BJP's 25. "We are talking to all key stakeholders in the state, efforts are on to form a stable and credible government," BJP general secretary Ram Madhav told NDTV.
  3. The PDP has won 28 seats, three more than the BJP, Sources said Mr Baig, who vocally favours an alliance with the BJP, has been acting on his own in talking to Mr Madhav and has not been authorised by his party, the PDP, which has pulled him up, say sources.
  4. There are reportedly strong voices within the PDP opposed to an alliance with the BJP; the opinions of the two parties are the diametric opposite on several key issues. Also, sources said, the PDP as the single largest party is disinclined to yield the post of chief minister to the BJP.
  5. There has been talk of a rotational chief minister - with each partner holding the post for three years, an experiment that the PDP has tried with the Congress before. In that scenario the BJP wants the first three years. But the PDP is as of now reportedly unwilling to compromise on a full term as chief minister for its leader Mufti Mohammad Saeed. "Talks with PDP are at an initial stage, there are no talks about chief minister yet," Mr Madhav said today.
  6. In Jammu yesterday, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley held individual meetings with all 25 legislators of the party as it also attempts to choose its presumptive chief minister. The legislators have empowered party chief Amit Shah to decide on government formation, Mr Jaitley said, adding, "The people's mandate shows that the BJP must be a part of the government."
  7. Among the frontrunners if a BJP chief minister is appointed are union minister Jitendra Singh, an MP from Jammu and Dr Nirmal Singh, a legislator who is said to have the key support of Mr Jaitley. Most newly elected MLAs reportedly back Jitendra Singh for presumptive CM.
  8. The BJP has been in talks with independent or "unattached" legislators for support, Mr Jaitley said yesterday.
  9. A party or alliance needs at least 44 seats in the assembly to stake claim to form government. If the BJP allies with the National Conference - which has 15 seats and claims the support of two more - it will need to draw in some Independents to make up the numbers.
  10. Some National Conference leaders too have expressed disquiet at the possibility of a tie-up with the BJP.  A legislator Aga Rohullah told NDTV, "People voted in large numbers to keep the BJP at bay. We can't give backdoor entry to the BJP to form the government. The last thing the people want is a BJP Chief Minister."


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