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Political parties in JK stretching and squeezing possibilities to make it 44


Srinagar, July 6: The political parties are making continuous efforts to cobble up the requisite number to form government in Jammu and Kashmir. In the 87-member J&K Assembly, PDP is the single largest party with 28 seats followed by BJP with 25 seats, National Conference 15, Congress 12, and Peoples Conference (PC) with 2 seats. Remaining are independent candidates. All political parties, according to sources, are holding talks with each other parties to reach magic 44 seats required for forming the government. The BJP leaders, according to the party insiders, are in touch with the MLAs going against PDP. “For forming the government, at least 18 MLAs have to dissent the PDP, which is two-third of the party’s total seat count in the house,” a BJP leader said. “If we manage to get the support of 18 PDP MLAs, there will be a BJP-led government in the state. The BJP leadership is in touch with several PDP MLAs.” The BJP’s Chief Spokesperson, Sunil Sethi, said the party can only form the government when two-third of PDP MLAs dessert the party. The activities on government formation gained momentum after BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav and State BJP leaders last week called on Sajjad Lone in Srinagar and discussed possibility of forming a government. Disgruntled PDP leader and MLA Zadibal, Abid Ansari, has claimed that 14 legislators are mulling to leave the party. Abdul Majeed Padroo, representing Noorabad constituency said he had resigned from the PDP. “I can support any party for government formation,” Padroo said. The PDP chief spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir said party would hold parley with disgruntled MLAs. “Once the party president will return from New Delhi, the PDP will hold a meeting,” Mir said. However, he refused to comment whether the party leadership was holding talks with Congress party to form the government. Mehbooba Mufti, who has been camping in New Delhi for the last several days, has reportedly met senior Congress leaders. She, according to media reports, met with Dr Manmohan Singh, too. “If the disgruntled PDP MLAs leave the party, we won’t be able to reach the requisite number,” a Congress leader said, wishing anonymity. So far five sitting MLAs including two influential Shia legislators Abid Ansari and his nephew and former minister Imran Ansari have openly opposed Mehbooba. If the BJP is to form the government, it needs the support of 44 MLAs. The party has 25 MLAs, its ally PC has two and it may also have secured the support of two independent legislators, taking its tally to 29. In that scenario, the saffron party will still be short of 15 members in J&K, which has been under Governor’s Rule since June 20, a day after BJP withdrew support to Mehbooba-led PDP-BJP coalition.