Amid speculations, especially after the visit of Congress president Sonia Gandhi at the residence of Mehbooba Mufti, uncertainty looms over the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir. The latter, tipped to be the next Chief Minister of the sensitive state, is yet to convene the Legislature Party meeting. The sensitive state has been placed under Governor’s rule with effect from Friday after the demise of sitting CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7.
The state has since been hanging in a fragile balance with the coalition partners – PDP and BJP – taking time to formally announce the swearing-in of new chief minister.
“The party president has not made any moves yet. As and when any development takes places, we will let you know,” a senior PDP leader told a news agency on Monday.
“At the farewell function to the personal staff of Sayeed, the party legislators, who were also present, have thrown their weight behind the president on the future course of action. We are now waiting for her decision,” the leader stressed further.
On its part, PDP ally BJP, while rejecting the speculations, clarified that it wanted the existing power-sharing arrangement between the two parties to continue, seeking the PDP to make a first move.
“It is for PDP to take the first call from their side. They have to decide about their leader and come forward. I hope they take a decision soon so that this kind of uncertainty ends,” BJP general secretary Ram Madhav told the press in Srinagar adding, “We (BJP) are in favour of continuing that arrangement for the larger benefit of the state”.
The senior BJP leader, who has been camping in the state for past few days after Mufti’s death, also rejected the reports that both parties have put up fresh conditions. He further apprised that no political discussion had started between the two ruling partners as Mehbooba was in deep mourning.
“We will like to know what they are thinking. PDP has to be forthcoming,” Madhav added.
Although BJP hasn’t given in writing its support to Mehbooba as the next chief minister yet, several party leaders including former deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh have expressed hope that the alliance with the regional party will continue for the rest of the term of the current assembly.
The visit of senior Congress leaders including AICC president Sonia Gandhi to Mehbooba’s residence on Sunday had led to a spike in speculations.
Congress has earlier shared power with PDP between 2002 and 2008, with both parties having their Chief Minister on rotational basis after three years. They later had a bitter split in 2008 following the Amarnath land row agitation.
(With inputs from the PTI)