Home / Politics / Policy /  Stable coalition or political uncertainty in store for Jammu & Kashmir?

New Delhi: The assembly polls result on Tuesday cleared the path for a stable government in Jharkhand but in politically sensitive Jammu and Kashmir, a fractured mandate left the onus on leading political parties to cobble up a “stable coalition".

In the 87-member state assembly, Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got 28 seats, followed by a resurgent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that bagged 25 seats mainly from the Jammu region. The ruling Jammu & Kashmir National Conference (NC) won 15 seats and the Congress got 12 seats. The rest went to smaller parties and independents.

“Record turnout in J&K polls showed people’s faith in democracy. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for placing their confidence in BJP," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter on Tuesday.

If one looks at the current political scenario in Jammu and Kashmir, and the “larger neighbourhood", a stable government is the need of the hour, explained Gul Mohammed, a Srinagar-based political analyst.

He said that NC and PDP joining hands is not possible and PDP may not like to join hands with the Congress party. “Joining Congress won’t benefit PDP as Congress’s position is going down across the country. So, PDP and BJP can only provide a stable government as they largely represent the two dominant regions of the state," said Mohammed.

He said that keeping BJP out of power will be dangerous as people in Jammu, where BJP won most of the seats, will feel sidelined. “So PDP and BJP should come together for a bigger interest," he said.

Both parties seems to be warming up to such a coalition. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti while addressing a press conference said that her party would take a call keeping in mind the best interest of the state and people. Without naming BJP, she said that she would try to take forward “good governance" promises and if need be can formulate a common minimum agenda.

She, however, said that to build a consensus government, it will take time. “Our priority will not be to cobble together a government by hook or crook. It will take time to explore possibilities and formation of government to meet the people’s expectations and good governance. It is difficult to say when it will materialize," she told reporters.

In Delhi, BJP party president Amit Shah said the party has kept all its options open. “All options—to form a government, to support a government and to be part of a governments (are open)," Shah told reporters in Delhi.

He said people liked the development agenda and have given BJP candidates success both in Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir.

Mohammed said that BJP is not very rigid on issues like Article 370 and he believes, PDP and BJP coming together will benefit in more than one way—stability, better coordination between the Centre and state, more financial help to the state from the Centre and above all work in the direction of solving Kashmir issues. “If former PM Vajpayee can move forward to solve Kashmir issues, why not Modi. But for that, BJP has to be part of the government. Without them, it may create more tension," he said.

A government officer in Srinagar, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that people in Kashmir valley are not very optimistic about governments as they are very “anti-establishment". “Stability is required but the valley is fragile and the baggage of history is too big to forget that governments generally don't help people," he said, adding that PDP and BJP joining hands may benefit the state more.

After the 1996 assembly elections, Jammu and Kashmir had not given a clear mandate to any political party. In 1996, with 57 seats, the National Conference under Farooq Abdullah came to power and that was the last time any political party received a full majority.

“What the new government needs to do is win the hearts of people first and without it stability will be only in paper," said the government official, a view that Mohammed reiterated.

But Mohammed said, PDP has an ideological base like the BJP. So both may see their ideology clashing with each other. “The point is can they move beyond party politics in the interest of the nation and sit together?" he asked.

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