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GOWHAR GEELANI | 14 JANUARY, 2015

NC Formally Extends Support to PDP after Governors Rule is Imposed

Will PDP accept NC's offer?


SRINAGAR: A tweet from Jammu & Kashmir’s former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah confirmed National Conference’s renewed offer of support to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to form the government in the state.

NC’s formal offer is the latest political twist and could potentially give more headaches to the PDP’s think tank.

“@JKNC_ has written to Gov. Vohra sahib reiterating our offer of support to @jkpdp & asking him to call us before deciding assembly viability,” wrote Abdullah tweeted.

NC had also written a formal letter to the state’s Governor NN Vohra in this regard.

On the other hand, PDP’s chief spokesperson, Naeem Akhtar, told a news agency that “the party will discuss this new development in an appropriate forum and respond only after due deliberations.”

Interestingly, Akhtar had earlier responded to the offer by saying that the option would only be considered if people of Jammu & Kashmir forgive their (National Conference) mistakes.

There has been a kind of cold war going on between Omar Abdullah and Naeem Akhtar.

Omar’s latest tweet, “Looking at the way the @jkpdp spokesman is hitting out at me you'd be forgiven for thinking that I've snatched his favourite toy,” bears testimony to this.

It appears that NC is constantly building pressure on the PDP. Earlier, Omar Abdullah resigned as the caretaker chief minister well before January 19 deadline and now the party formally wrote to the Governor to confirm its support to the PDP.

NC blamed PDP for making Kashmiris suffer by “negotiating political concessions with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).” And now if the PDP rejects NC’s support it could find more ammunition to target Mufti Saeed’s party.

This is possibly another headache for the PDP.

For Mufti’s PDP, while, going with the BJP is ‘political suicide’ , partnering NC is a ‘double-edged sword’.

NC’s latest move has outmanoeuvred the PDP for a moment, as if there were fewer factors under consideration before the PDP with respect to its decision to form a stable government.

Another issue that is being hotly debated in Kashmir is the resettlement of Western Pakistani refugees in Jammu.

Kashmir Valley’s dominant socio-religious and political groups, including all three factions of the Hurriyat Conference, have strongly expressed their resentment against this proposed move.

Various pressure groups have made life difficult for the PDP.

Cadre-based socio-religious and political organization Jama’at-e-Islami Jammu & Kashmir (JeI) has stated that the BJP wants to change the Muslim majority character of Jammu & Kashmir by settling West Pakistan refugees in Jammu Province.

In its press statement, the JeI said that its Ameer (Chief) assured his party’s support to entire Kashmiri nation and told various delegations comprising of social and religious groups that it was time to adopt a joint strategy to counter the BJP’s proposed move.

“It is important to give a strong message that Kashmir will not allow anyone to change its Muslim majority character, demography and identity and that in this endeavour we stand united,” the JeI release added.

Hurriyat Conference factions headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Shabir Shah too have voiced their strong resentment against the issue of resettlement.

In a statement, Hurriyat leader and chairman of J&K National Front Nayeem Khan said that “the whole Kashmiri nation is fully aware of the conspiracies being hatched in New Delhi against their identity.”

Islamic Political Party Jammu and Kashmir has also supported the unity call given by the Hurriyat Conference headed by Shabir Shah.

Results of the five-phased assembly elections in J&K were declared on December 23 and there has been no headway with respect to government formation since.

The assembly elections threw up a fractured mandate, PDP emerged as the single-largest party with 28 seats while the BJP won 25 assembly segments.

In J&K’s 87-member Assembly, the NC got 15 seats, Congress 12 and Others 7.

There was massive participation in the election as voter turn out was more than 70%.

Addressing a massive election rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in a passing reference to assembly elections of Jammu & Kashmir showered accolades on Kashmiri voters for their enthusiastic participation in the electoral process. He, however, kept everyone guessing by remaining silent on the possible government formation in the strife-torn Himalayan region.

PDP-BJP partnership appears to be the only arithmetical reality to form a stable government in Jammu & Kashmir as they together make the seat tally as 53, but the decision to stitch a coalition together could prove risky and suicidal for both these parties.

PDP-NC combination doesn’t seem to work out properly either because the argument articulated by the former is that people of the region have rejected the latter.

PDP-Congress alliance is again problematic as the latter was reduced to only 12 seats and party’s perceived bigwigs like Peerzada Mohammad Saeed, Taj Mohi-ud-Din, Tara Chand, Salman Soz, etc lost the elections.

As ideological divides are proving impediments in the government formation, arithmetical realities aren’t helping the cause either.

Governor’s rule was implemented in Jammu & Kashmir on January 9 after no party staked claim for government formation.

Even after three weeks since the election results were declared there seems to be no solution in sight.

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