Srinagar: In Tral constituency, pollsters were expecting a near complete boycott of Assembly polls but it recorded a voter turnout of 37.68%. The oft-cited explanation for the surprising turnabout: people came out to vote to keep BJP, which would have been a winner in case of boycott, at bay.
Tral elected Mushtaq Ahmad Shah of PDP that, according to some reports, has decided to form a coalition government with the same BJP.
Kashmir Reader on Tuesday asked Shah how he will reconcile with the idea of a coalition with the BJP which had been portrayed by his party as a force that has to be stopped.
“We have some political and ideological differences with the BJP. But looking at myriad problems of the people and development issues, we can consider BJP’s support for an alliance,” Shah said.
“We have put certain conditions before BJP. If the conditions are met, I as MLA Tral have no problem if the party high command takes BJP’s help,” he added.
Shah said BJP candidate never stood a chance to win and his main competition was the National Conference nominee. While Shah got 12,415 votes, NC’s Ashraf Bhat secured 8,305 and BJP candidate Avtar Singh only 2,945 votes.
Mohammad Yusuf Bhat, PDP’s winning candidate from Shopian, echoes Shah’s views. In Shopian, BJP candidate Javed Ahmad Qadri managed to secure 3,300 votes, the highest for the saffron party in the Valley.
“I agree with the party leadership’s stand on the issue of an alliance. I have given a positive response during my consultation with the leadership. I want party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed should become chief minister for six years,” Bhat said.
A full six-year tenure for Sayeed as CM is one of the conditions PDP has reportedly set before BJP.
Abdul Rahim Rather, PDP’s MLA from Kokernag, offers an interesting analogy to justify an alliance with the BJP if it materialises.
“Alchol is prohibited for Muslims. But sometimes a Muslim consumes a small amount (present in medicines) under compulsion to cure an ailment,” Rather said.
“Jammu people have shown unity. In Valley, people were fragmented. So certain decisions would be made which would be uncomfortable and would not satisfy everybody. In a fractured mandate, sometimes emotions are hurt,” he added.
Stating that his party was treading “on razors,” Rather said Jammu region’s big mandate for BJP cannot be ignored.
Rather, who insisted that he was speaking in his personal capacity as an MLA and not his party’s views, said, “We have put conditions before the BJP. If they accept our demands we have to respect their mandate”.
Several other PDP legislators Kashmir Reader spoke to, expressed similar views, but on the condition of anonymity.