Political uncertainty continues in J&K

Jammu/Srinagar, Jan 12 (IANS) As the political uncertainty over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir continued on Tuesday, going by the mood in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) camp, it appears Mehbooba Mufti is in no haste to take oath as the chief minister after the death of her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

State N.N. Vohra who convened an administrative meeting in winter capital Jammu on Monday, reviewed the progress of various developmental programmes in the state.

In another development, all official vehicles were withdrawn from ministers in addition to their name plates being removed at the civil secretariat, which functions from Jammu city during the winter months.

Going by the general mood in the PDP camp in Srinagar, it appears the party is in no hurry to stake claim for forming the government in the state.

As all senior PDP leaders said they have complete faith in the party president, Mehbooba Mufti, no one in her father’s ministerial team, however, can “advise” her about her next move.

Being fair to his arch political rival, regional National Conference (NC) president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah said Mehbooba needs time to come out of her grief and she will have to listen to her inner voice to decide on future governance in the state.

Abdullah also ruled out the possibility of supporting the PDP for government formation if the PDP chose to seek their support.

“They spurned that offer when we must it last year,” he said.

Former chief minister and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has also ruled out either supporting the PDP for government formation or trying to seek a new alliance to claim power in the state.

Assembly speaker Kavinder Gupta has said the session to have convened on January 18 stands cancelled.

“The new assembly session can only be convened after a government is formed in the state”, Gupta told reporters in Jammu.

In the 87-member state legislative assembly, the PDP has 27 seats (down from 28 since Mufti Sayeed represented south Kashmir’s Anantnag seat), the BJP has 25 and two allies from Sajad Lone’s Peoples Conference (PC). The NC has 15 and the Congress 12 MLAs. The CPI-M has one, Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) one and there are three independents.

To claim power any single party or an alliance of parties should have 44 MLAs (Now 43 if Sayeed’s seat is excluded).

Given the present status, arithmetical calculations indicate the only possibility to form the future government in the state would be through continuation of the previous ruling alliance between the PDP and the BJP.

But, politics is not plain arithmetic; it is the art of the possible and sometimes also the art of the impossible.

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