Govt Formation: BJP’s Dilemma

Riyaz Ul Khaliq

SRINAGAR

With speculations and counter speculations ripping earlobes about government formation after assembly election results threw up a hung verdict, BJP is keen to be part of new government. Immediately after the results were declared, BJP started hectic parleys to deliberate upon the ‘possibilities’.

Thursday morning, BJP senior leaders from New Delhi flew to Jammu and met its new legislators and discussed the possibility of government formation.

The two member panel headed by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley (also known to be Kashmir expert in BJP) after the meeting said that the right wing BJP shall play a “crucial” role in government formation. “Whoever forms the government, BJP will have a crucial role to play in view of the fact that it has the highest popular vote in the elections,” Arun Jaitley said. But the question arises with whom?

Playing its most prized card of ‘polarisation’, BJP improved its tally of 2008 by 14 seats and settled on 25 (the highest ever). It falls short of 19 seats to achieve both its much talked ‘mission 44’ and the majority to rule the state. Going by their claim that they have support of six other MLAs, the score reaches to 31. Again not the number which matters most, 44.

The only two options left now is either PDP or NC. To align with any of these two regional parties essentially mean that BJP may have to compromise its few ideological stands. But can BJP afford to do so, this is matter of time.

As twists and turns are rapid in way to forming a new dispensation, NC Working president Omar Abdullah instead of going to see his ailing parents in London Wednesday rushed to New Delhi and held parleys with top BJP leadership along with his confidante’ Devendra Singh Rana on Thursday but denied any talk about government formation.

Few PDP leaders are also believed to be supporting the decision of going with BJP in government formation. Its senior leaders are quoted to have said that “BJP is not untouchable for PDP.”

But then in both parties, NC and PDP, strong resentment have been shown in case the leadership allies with BJP.
BJP also has to answer the voters who gave them decisive mandate in Hindu belts of state. If we recall few instances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaigning in state, he repeatedly referred to Mufti’s and Abdullah’s as “looters” and used to say that “Baap- Bete ki sarkar gayi, Baap-Beti ki sarkar gayi”. This may be embarrassment for newly elected Prime Minister to forge an alliance with any of two, going by his own words.

Prior to elections, NC’s working president Omar Abdullah kept six conditions for Narendra Modi to have an alliance with NC. The conditions included, “Accept constitution of J&K; Accept J&K flag; Accept Article 370; Solve Babri Majid case to our satisfaction; Hold talks with Pak on J&K; No uniform civil code.” These all seem to be fundamental in getting BJP to power. How could they manage to do away with them? Though during elections they did not utter a word in valley about abrogation of Article 370. This according to many commentators is an attempt to minimize the apprehensions of most of the Kashmiri minds, Kashmir Life had reported earlier.

In June 2014, BJP lodged FIR against Engineer Rashid as he unfurled ‘flag of Kashmir’, how BJP would justify in taking Engineer along in government formation. This is widely asked question on social media.

In its manifesto, BJP had promised to make J&K a ‘peaceful, progressive and developed’ state of the Union of India through “holistic” and “inclusive” development in its “Vision Document”.

“We will go (ahead on the issue of government formation) with three principles based on national and state interest. They are: strengthening of national sovereignty, development and regional balance,” Jaitley said in Jammu.

The opponents take this statement as major deviation from the orthodox stand of BJP. They say the party has already ‘soften’ its policy to enjoy power in the state.

Even Thursday evening a Kashmiri pandit asked BJP national spokesman that ‘if you say Article 370 is debatable, you are undermining the sacrifice of Shayama Prasad Mukherjee.” He also asked that “Is BJP ready to align with people who killed Shyama Prasad?”

The other panellist asked the BJP spokesman that “PDP is the party who are having close ties with separatists and also share their ideology with Jamaat-e-Islami, how could BJP even think of having alliance with them?” There may be many questions more for BJP to answer.

As of now Jammu region consists of 37 assembly segments of which 21 have clear Hindu majority but BJP, due to polarisation of votary, apparently on the basis of religion, secured 25 seats.

Interestingly, BJP lost only one Hindu vote majority seat to brother of its MoS in PMO i.e. Nagrota but made in roads in Muslim belt of Chenab valley by winning four seats there.

Though the BJP is desperate to be part of power in Jammu and Kashmir. It is to be seen at what cost. How Modi and his confidante’ Amit Shah manage the situation of handling both the ‘national’ as well as ‘regional’ aspiration.

As of now they gained one over other. Can they afford to risk the one they have? Let us wait and watch!

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