Srinagar, Sep 29: For the first time since it joined hands with the Muftis for Government formation in the state, the BJP seems a bit nervous after leaders of arch rivals PDP and National Conference gave out reconciliatory statements about the possibility of the parties coming together for Government formation in the state.
The man floating this idea around is senior PDP leader Altaf Bukhari who, ironically, was himself dropped when Mehbooba Mufti took over as the Chief Minister after Mufti Sayeed’s demise.
Altaf, the buzz then went, was dropped because he had suggested to BJP that he, if given the chance, could lead the Government formation efforts even if Mehbooba was averse to allying with the saffron party.
Though Altaf was re-inducted into the Cabinet later, the Government itself did not last.
Top sources in the BJP Saturday told The Kashmir Monitor that the party was surprised with Altaf’s “NC-PDP should come together in fight for Article 35-A” statement he gave out on Friday.
Going against the tradition, the National Conference did not trash the PDP leader’s suggestion and instead a senior NC leader, MLA Mian Altaf,came out a statement which observers are terming as cautiously ‘optimistic’.
Mian Altaf, on Friday, was quoted saying by Kashmir News Service that NC “is open to join a joint struggle with PDP on Article 35-A and against the rise of communal forces.”
NC and PDP’s new found love for each other comes at a time when BJP has, on more than one occasion, said that it was still looking to form Government in J&K with “like-minded” MLAs, a clear reference to Imran Ansari-led PDP rebels.
It thus came as no surprise that Abid Ansari, Imran’s uncle and part of PDP rebels, rejected Altaf’s formula and went on to say that the senior PDP leader was “day dreaming”.
NC, meanwhile, garnished Mian Altaf’s statement with a more official tone and hinted their willingness in a statement the party issued on Saturday.
NC chief spokesman Agha Ruhullah said the party’s “doors were open for anyone seeking to strengthen Article 370 and Article 35A.”
Reacting to Altaf’s statement, Ruhullah said that the party had unilaterally offered support to PDP after 2014 elections which they declined.
“Our party is not after power and chair, the apprehensions on our part about BJP being in power stand vindicated today,” he said, while adding: “If anybody wants to join, the doors of JKNC are open to anyone who seeks to strengthen Article 370 and Art 35A.”