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J&K government formation: Suspense continues; BJP says talks on for stable government

A day after the Peoples Democratic Party gave enough hints that it was ready to form a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, a delegation of Bharatiya Janata Party leaders on Thursday met Governor NN Vohra.

After a brief meeting with the governor, BJP state unit chief and MP Jugal Kishore Sharma told that the party has started dialogue to form next government. He, however, refused to divulge details on the ongoing talks with other prospective political partners in the state.

The BJP leader added that the delegation has told the Governor that more time is required to form a stable government in the state.

“The talks will be held in a congenial atmosphere,” Kishore said, without however naming the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the single largest party in the 87-seat Assembly.

“The priority is a stable government,” Kishore said. “We are not in a hurry to form a government.”

But he added that he did not foresee hiccups in the way of government formation. He said any coalition government which takes office will be in power for six years until the next elections.

On Wednesday, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti told the Governor that her party had the support of 55 legislators in the 87-seat hung Assembly.

Though she did not specify if the BJP, with 25 legislators, was supporting her, she made a pointed laudatory reference to former prime minister and ailing BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The PDP leader met the Governor for about 90 minutes at Raj Bhavan in winter capital Jammu.

Mehbooba Mufti later told: “We have the support of 55 MLAs. It is our intention that a stable government is formed to address the huge problems faced by the people in the state.”

“We want that the agenda of development and peace should be carried forward. We want Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s peace process (with Pakistan) to be carried to its logical conclusion.”

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said: “We appreciate Mehbooba Mufiti’s gesture through the media. We await a formal invitation to dialogue.”

Another BJP leader, Arun Gupta, said his party will react formally on Thursday and added that no government will be possible in the state minus the BJP.

Reacting to the situation, Jammu and Kashmir’s National Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh said he does not think it would be easy for Mufti to ride on a “saffron cart”.

“I don’t think BJP and PDP will get along,” Singh said, adding: “To give more time to Mufti ji or BJP is against democracy.”

The PDP and the BJP together command 53 legislators. The BJP won all its seats in the Hindu-majority Jammu region and the PDP won all but two seats in the overwhelmingly Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley.

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