Senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former minister Altaf Bukhari on Wednesday confirmed that his party, National Conference and Congress have decided to join hands and form a government in the state to protect the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
If this arrangement materializes, it will be a big blow for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been eyeing government formation with the help of People Conference (PC) chairman Sajjad Lone, who has been trying to rope in rebel PDP MLAs.
“I’m not a spokesperson of my party, but it is true that there is progress (on talks) between the three parties (NC, PDP, Congress), keeping in view the current situation in the state… and to protect the special status of the state all the three parties have decided to join hands,” Mr Bukhari told reporters here on Wednesday.
However, he said the talks at this point of time is at the top leadership level. “But, the reports which I have received are that all the three parties have decided to form a government to defend the special status,” he added.
He said Article 370 and Article 35A, which defines our identity, are the main issues and all this is being done to safeguard them.
Mr Bukhari said the people of the state will soon get a good news (about the government formation).
Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad speaking to reporters in New Delhi said that informal talks are on to explore the new government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The parties (Congress, NC, PDP) felt they should come together and explore government formation in Jammu and Kashmir… we are just discussing a proposal, nothing else,” Mr Azad, who is former chief minister of J&K, said.
The state is currently under Governor’s rule since June this year, which was imposed after BJP pulled out support by the MehboobaMufti-led coalition government with the PDP earlier this year. However, the Governor’s rule cannot be extended after it completes its six-month period on December 19. It is proposed to impose President’s rule thereafter but the 87-member assembly is not being dissolved, according to Governor Satya Pal Mallik.
PDP has 28 MLAs, BJP has 25, NC 15, Congress 12, PC 2 in the 87-member Assembly.