Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Jugal Kishore (left) presents a bouquet to Governor NN Vohra as BJP leaders arrive to meet him
The BJP in Jammu and Kashmir today met Governor NN Vohra on government formation, a day after receiving friendly signals from Mehbooba Mufti, a leader of the largest party in the state.
"We asked for more time. We have started the process of consultations. We have the mandate to be part of the government," Jugal Kishore Sharma, the state unit chief, told NDTV.
Mehbooba Mufti had met the Governor yesterday and later dropped hints that her People's Democratic Party (PDP) is open to an alliance with the BJP. Speaking to reporters, she invoked former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's vision and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi "has a big responsibility" towards the state.
"We have to bring back Vajpayee's policies," she said, while dodging questions on whether the PDP would join hands with the BJP.
The PDP won 28 seats in the 87-member Jammu and Kashmir assembly after a deeply fractured state poll verdict, but is well short of the majority mark of 44. The BJP won 25 seats and the National Conference placed third at 15. The Congress won 12 seats.
Ms Mufti appeared to nix a "Grand Alliance" comprising its arch-rival National Conference and the Congress, an idea that was floated by senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
"Media reports say we have the support of 55 MLAs but we don't want to form a government for the sake of it. A government should be one that is about welfare and peace, and for that we need Mr Vajpayee's approach," said Ms Mufti.
The BJP's Ram Madhav welcomed her comments and said, "As and when something concrete happens, we will take it forward."
The PDP's top leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Mehbooba Mufti's father, has been consulting party leaders and newly-elected lawmakers to decide on the party's alliance.
A section in the PDP is opposed to an alliance with the BJP and believes that the ideologies of the two parties are too different for a stable coalition. The PDP, with three more seats than the BJP, is also disinclined to yield the post of chief minister.
A government has to be in place by January 19, failing which Governor's rule will be imposed in the state.