In a significant development in Indian politics, the newly-minted alliance of PDP, National Conference and Congress, has staked a claim to forming a government in Jammu and Kashmir with 56 MLAs. A letter has been sent to J&K Governor Satyapal Malik in this regard.
Meanwhile, as per top sources, the BJP is to hold a core group meeting at its party headquarters on Thursday morning at 11 am, followed by a meeting of party legislators, after which the BJP, with the support of rebel PDP MLAs will stake a claim to forming the J&K government.
Earlier on Wednesday, Republic TV had broken news of the PDP-NC-Congress alliance, with PDP's Altaf Bukhari likely to be the CM face.
Confirming the alliance to the media, PDP MLA Altaf Bukhari had said, "We have agreed to form an alliance. PDP, National Conference and Congress. What are the contours of the alliance, only leadership can say. Alliance has been agreed. There is a serious level of discussion which has taken place. There are some 60 MLAs with us. This alliance has been made for the identity of Kashmir and Kashmiris. It is not for any rule, but only for the protection of the special identity which we have. It is being done to respond to the aspirations of the people. Section 370 is under attack, 35A is under attack, and we have to respond. There is no front. We have around 60-61 MLAs which makes 2/3rd. Leaders of three parties have responded to the current situation. It will be announced very soon."
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.