Having secured the maximum number of seats in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections, there is divided opinion within PDP to seek BJP support for government formation in the state. At least half a dozen of the 28 PDP MLAs have rejected the idea of an alliance with the BJP as it would go against their mandate, say top sources in the PDP. While Mehbooba Mufti and Rajpora MLA Haseeb Drabu have opposed the alliance, senior leaders and former deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussein Baig have supported a tie up.
The MLAs have been individually met by the PDP leadership before the party takes a final call ahead of its meeting with the governor on 1 January. "If we go with the BJP, it will be political suicide for us. It is better to have governor's rule if required," one of the MLAs said, reports The Times of India.
However, the group which wants a tie up feels that this is the best opportunity for the PDP to turn around the politics of the state. "Six years is a long time in politics and if Mufti Mohd Sayeed as CM delivers, we will be able to strengthen ourselves in both Srinagar and Delhi." The BJP being in power at the Centre is a clear attraction since central funds for flood relief will be the immediate challenge. A Modi-Mufti alliance is seen by the pro-alliance group as a coalition that can outlast the arrangement the Abdullahs had with the Congress leadership.
But the mathematical reality is being countered with a political one. A section of the PDP is concerned that the tie-up will lead to a backlash in the valley. "The high voter turnout was because the voters didn't want the BJP to bloom in the valley. If we tie up with the BJP today, the national conference will benefit tomorrow." The anti-alliance group stresses on the fact that saffron outfits are carrying out "ghar wapsi" drives across India.
Mehbooba Mufti had made strengthening article 370, revocation of AFSPA and soft borders the key elements of her campaign. The BJP knows that its voter in Jammu doesn't want a compromise on these matters either. "It's a tough situation for both sides to evolve a common minimum agenda," says a BJP leader, "whatever we gain in one region, we will lose in another. We could be na ghar ka, na ghaati ka (neither here nor there)."