Amid speculation about the BJP exploring possibilities of forming the government in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP on Saturday denied any such move and said that it is in favour of Governor’s rule continuing in the state. “…We are continuing with Governor’s rule in d (the) interest of peace, governance n (and) development in d (the) state,” Ram Madhav, BJP general secretary in-charge of Jammu and Kashmir, tweeted on Saturday.
He was responding to National Conference (NC) leader and former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who tweeted that “contrary to @rammadhavbjp assertions the state unit of BJP confesses to being party to the efforts to break the @JKPDP. Power at any cost would seem to be the guiding philosophy.”
Omar also posted a report from Greater Kashmir newspaper which, citing “top sources” in the BJP, said a “big chunk of People’s Democratic Party MLAs are in constant touch with the BJP high command as the party aims to form a BJP-led government in Jammu and Kashmir before the 2019 parliamentary elections”. Rejecting the report, Madhav tweeted, “Not true. I will certainly check with d state unit n ensure that BJP keeps itself scrupulously out of whatever is happening in other parties in d Valley…”
After the BJP pulled out of Mehbooba Mufti’s coalition government on June 19, leading to imposition of Governor’s rule in the state, there was speculation about the BJP exploring possibilities of government formation with the support of rebel PDP legislators and leaders of smaller parties. BJP sources denied rumours that PDP leaders were in the national capital to meet Madhav and other leaders.
The speculation was fuelled by three PDP legislators accusing Mufti of turning the party into a family affair. This, coupled with statements of local BJP leaders about possibilities of government formation after the culmination of the Amarnath yatra, led to talk about 8-12 PDP MLAs being in touch with their former ally. Mufti had described the criticism by some of her party legislators as an indication of their grievances as some of them did not get portfolios and departments of their choice.
In the 87-member Assembly, PDP has 28 members, followed by BJP (25), National Conference (15), Congress (12), Peoples Conference (2) and other independents. With two MLAs of Peoples Conference already on its side, BJP needs the support of 17 more legislators to form the government. The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir does not allow political defections by legislators, except if the original party merges with another. For this, two-third members of that party in the Assembly need to agree to the merger.
PDP rebels could support BJP in the Assembly only if they succeeded in establishing that their original party had merged with the latter and they were part of it. To evade disqualification, they need to be 19 in number in view of the PDP having 28 legislators. With respect to NC with 15 members and Congress (12), the number of legislators breaking away to support the BJP in government formation has to be nine and eight, respectively.
With ENS Delhi