THE CONGRESS and National Conference (NC) are not looking at the option of forming a new government in J&K with the PDP after Mehbooba Mufti resigned Tuesday as Chief Minister following the BJP’s withdrawal from her government.
Reacting to the state government’s collapse, NC leader Omar Abdullah called for fresh elections while the Congress indicated that it preferred the imposition of Governor’s rule at this juncture. In 2014, both the parties had mooted the idea of a unity government along with the PDP.
Speaking to The Indian Express, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the situation in J&K is not conducive for elections, and that the way ahead is imposition of Governor’s rule. But this stand is at variance with that of some Opposition parties, including the Left, which believe that Governor’s rule “may not help in addressing the deepening alienation of the people”.
The only other option on the table is formation of a new government by the BJP and the NC.
While sources in the BJP did not rule out this possibility in the long term, Congress sources said they do not foresee such a scenario. “After the PDP experience, we don’t think the NC would take such a risk,” a senior Congress leader said.
Azad, a former J&K chief minister and Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, said the Congress would not have any tie-up with the PDP, directly or indirectly. “For us, there is no difference between the BJP and the PDP now. That difference was there three-and-a-half years ago… PDP is responsible for bringing the BJP into J&K,” Azad said.
The “only option now is Governor’s rule”, he said, adding that elections can be held in the state a year later along with the general elections.
Reacting to the BJP-PDP split, Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “The opportunistic BJP-PDP alliance set fire to J&K, killing many innocent people including our brave soldiers. It cost India strategically & destroyed years of UPA’s hard work. The damage will continue under President’s rule. Incompetence, arrogance & hatred always fails.”
Abdullah, meanwhile, met Governor N N Vohra after which he demanded early elections. “I told the Governor that in the 2014 elections, the National Conference did not have the mandate to form a government and today also we don’t have the mandate. We have neither been approached nor have we approached any party for support to form a government in the state. The Governor has no option but to impose Governor’s rule and improve the situation so that a democratic government is formed in the state after holding fresh elections,” he said.
Asked about his party’s earlier offer to support the PDP, Abdullah said: “That was a one-time offer and after they joined hands with the BJP, that offer ended.”
The CPM politburo said the BJP’s decision has the potential to create greater political instability and signifies the “total political failure” of its approach in J&K.
The CPI’s national secretariat said the unilateral move to withdraw support shows the “hidden agenda to create chaos in J&K so that BJP can go ahead with its hidden agenda of polarisation.”
AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also used Twitter to hit out at BJP, saying, “After ruining it, BJP pulls out of Kashmir”.
In another tweet, he said: “3 years lost in the valley, 3 years that saw huge civilian & army casualties, 3 years later the valley is worse-off from where it stood then. This is what happens when you put politics over people. I will not allow Delhi to suffer because of dirty politics of Modi Govt”.