Friday, 21 January, 2022
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Just 10 days after pulling out of J&K govt, BJP is in poll mode and looking for allies

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BJP chief spokesperson for the state tells ThePrint the party doesn’t want to form another coalition government now but is looking ahead to new elections. 

New Delhi: Barely 10 days after pulling out of its alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP has started gearing up for elections in the state. It is already looking for parties in the Valley it can ally with for the Parliamentary and state assembly elections.

“We are discussing strategy for the upcoming elections in the state. The party is also exploring political alignments for the parliamentary as well as state elections,” BJP’s chief spokesperson for the state Sunil Sethi told ThePrint.

Sethi ruled out the possibility of the BJP pushing for another coalition government in the state now.

“There is no possibility of government formation in the state right now. All that we are looking forward to is new elections,” he said.

The BJP pulled the plug on its alliance with the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP on 19 June, sending the state into another round of Governor’s rule.

On Wednesday, top BJP leaders, including party general secretary Ram Madhav met Sajjad Lone, the People’s Conference chairman and former state minister, at a local hotel at Srinagar.

Madhav, who also visited the Amarnath cave in south Kashmir and met Governor N.N. Vohra, shared a picture with Lone on his twitter handle saying they discussed a roadmap for the state.

“With J&K former ministers of BJP n PC (Sajjad Lone) in Srinagar discussing about the roadmap for the state (sic).”

According to sources, the BJP is in touch with other mainstream politicians in the Valley.

Former deputy chief minister, Kavinder Gupta, claimed that a few groups from different political parties had approached the BJP to discuss the possibility of government formation.

“A group of PDP leaders who were also ready to break from their party could be in touch with the BJP,” said a source.

NC likely to benefit

The political stalemate in the state, caused by the PDP-BJP split, is expected to strengthen the opposition National Conference (NC), which is led by former chief minister Omar Abdullah.

Abdullah had called for the immediate dissolution of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly and sought fresh elections in the state.

Earlier, Abdullah and Madhav had sparred over government formation in the state, with the NC chief questioning the BJP intentions, alleging that it was trying to lure members of other parties to ensure it had the numbers to form the government.

Madhav had hit back, saying there was no question of “horse-trading” from the BJP’s side.

Amid apprehensions that a PDP faction may join the BJP, J&K Congress leader Salman Soz tweeted that Jammu and Kashmir had a tough anti-defection law.

“J&K has a tough anti-defection law. AFAIK, you can’t split parties. Even if you had 50% MLAs leaving, All would be disqualified. Law enacted during Muzaffar Beigh’s ministership (SIC),” Soz tweeted.

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