J-K govt formation: Parties exploring all options; Governor invites PDP, BJP for talks on Jan 1

Arun Jaitley addressing press conference.

Jammu/Srinagar, Dec 27: Suspense over formation of new government in Jammu and Kashmir continues as Governor N N Vohra on Friday invited PDP and BJP for holding discussions on the proposal for government-formation On January 1.

A Raj Bhavan official reportedly said that Vohra has sent letters separately to PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and state BJP chief Jugal Kishore “for holding discussions on the proposal for government-formation.”

The suspense over government formation in the state got another twist as Omar Abdullah-led National Conference offered to support the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but stopped short of formalising the proposal in writing.

It was reported that the NC formalised its support to PDP in ‘writing’ (as was demanded by the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led party), Omar quashed reports doing the rounds in media and tweeted, “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 (sic).”

Earlier, the NC leader Devendra Rana’s statement that his party is willing to offer the PDP ‘unconditional support’ to form the state government, had added to the confusion.

Rana told a news agency: “The PDP has emerged as the single largest party in this fractured mandate. In order to give a stable government to Jammu and Kashmir, we offer them our complete and unconditional support to form the government, respecting the public mandate.”

Rana further said: “We have conveyed this offer to the PDP. Now it is for them to decide.”

Rana’s statement comes hours after Omar Abdullah had refuted a report about his sending a letter, extending support to the PDP for forming the state government. He tweeted: “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.”

Omar’s Secretary Tanvir Sadiq earlier in the day said the National Conference, which won 15 seats, would support the PDP.

Sadiq said: “We are of this opinion that there should be a stable government in Jammu and Kashmir. It’s not for us to decide who forms the government. It is that the mandate is in the favour of PDP and then BJP. It is for them to decide how and what the combination should be. As far as the National Conference is concerned, the working president has clearly stated that if Mufti Mohammad Sayeed calls, we will consider supporting him.”

Meanwhile, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said that his party would back the PDP in national and regional interest.

Top BJP leaders like Arun Jaitley and Ram Madhav, however, said the party is keeping its options open. Sources said they are negotiating with both Omar Abdullah and the PDP.

After consulting its 25 newly-elected MLAs, the BJP is reportedly keen on an arrangement that would see one of its leaders as Chief Minister.

The Jammu and Kashmir elections results threw a fractured mandate for the 87-member state assembly with the PDP securing 28 seats in the recently-held assembly elections, while the BJP bagged 25.

(With Agency Inputs)

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