Congress leader and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday floated the idea of a possible coalition government of Congress, National Conference and People’s Democratic Party in Jammu and Kashmir, saying that with a combined strength of 55 MLAs the government will not only be stable but also representative of all regions of the state.
Azad, who is currently the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said: “A coalition of NC, PDP and Congress will be stable because the three parties together have 55 MLAs and it would also be representative of all the regions of the state. There are also the two nominated MLAs. It is now for PDP to take a call on the matter. We don’t want to rush things, the CM is supposed to be sworn in by January 5, they can decide on the matter.”
Asked about PDP’s position that truck with a party that is in power at the Centre is more conducive to the state’s development, Azad said: “If there was such a pre-condition for development then through the 67 years the same party that is in power at the Centre would have ruled all states. No government at the Centre can afford to stop fund flow to Jammu and Kashmir. (Mufti Mohammed) Syeed Saab has been a CM and a Union minister, he knows how these things work.” He was speaking at an interaction at the Indian Womens’ Press Corps.
A partner in the previous Omar Abdullah government, Congress won 12 seats in the recent Assembly elections against BJP’s 25, PDP’s 28 and NC’s 15. A party needs 44 seats in the 87-member Assembly to form government. The bid to cobble together an alliance with Congress as one of the partners is being viewed in some quarters as Azad’s last-ditch attempt to stay relevant and save his Rajya Sabha seat. His tenure ends in February. He, however, brushed aside such insinuations saying: “These things do not matter.”
Don’t play mind games, Omar tells PDP
Outgoing J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Friday asked the PDP not to play “mind games” on the issue of support from his party, the National Conference (NC), and said only a “verbal offer” had been conveyed. The tweet from Omar came after the Valley was agog with rumours that the NC had extended a letter of support to the PDP, arch rival of his party. “Looks like PDP is playing mind games with the BJP leaking about a letter of NC support that doesn’t exist. Only a verbal offer conveyed,” he tweeted. PTI