Republic TV has accessed the new PDP-NC-Congress alliance's letter to J&K Governor Satyapal Malik staking claim to forming a government in the state.
The two-paragraph letter states, “Since I am presently in Srinagar it will not be possible for me to call on you immediately and this is to keep you informed that we would be seeking your convenience shortly to stake the claim for forming the government in the State.”
Shortly after the letter broke, Mehbooba Mufti put out a tweet claiming that her fax sent to Raj Bhavan was “strangely” not received
The letter which is dated November 21, 2018, essentially proves that there is an official attempt for an anti-BJP front to be staking claim to forming the government in Jammu and Kashmir. It also means that the regional enmity between the National Conference, led by the Abdullahs, and the PDP, led by the Muftis, has come to an end — all in an attempt to keep the BJP out of the State.
The unprecedented development seems like a distant reminder of the Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD and Nitish Kumar’s JDU coming together in Bihar to keep the BJP out. In that case too, the Congress gave support to the formation of the government. While that alliance in Bihar eventually fell-through and was short-lived the official support of the Congress in the Kashmir front is a first of its kind politically in Kashmir.
In a parallel development, sources tell Republic TV that the BJP is set to hold a core group meeting at the party headquarters on Thursday morning at 11 am which will be followed by the a meeting of its party legislators to discuss the development. Sources also say that the BJP is banking on the support of PDP rebel MLA Imran Ansari who claims to have the support of 16 other MLAs with him. Should the BJP be able to get Ansari’s support along with the promised rebel MLAs, the party is likely to stake claim to the government as well.
It was in June, following the Ramzan ceasefire, that the BJP had pulled out of the PDP-led Jammu and Kashmir government that had been in power in the state since 2015, initially under the Chief Ministership of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, and following his demise in January 2016, his daughter Mehbooba Mufti.
At that time, when the J&K government had fallen, National Conference chief and former J&K CM Omar Abdullah had issued a call for immediate assembly elections in the state. After that, even as the state was put under Governor's rule, as per sources, a number of meetings had been held with a view to forming a majority alliance in the state.
In the 2014 J&K assembly elections, the PDP had emerged the biggest party with 28 seats, the BJP was second biggest with 25, the NC was third with 15 and the Congress had 12 seats. The J&K Assembly has a total of 87 seats with 44 needed for a majority.