‘Talks not restricted with PDP only’

Wasim Khalid

Srinagar: BJP’s JK affairs in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna said Thursday that the party was exploring all options to form the next government in the state other than planning to hold formal talks with the PDP.
“We have not yet held deliberations with any party. But we would hold formal talks with PDP over government formation soon,” Khanna told Kashmir Reader.
“We want peace and progress in the state. We have experience in running the coalitions. So the parties hold deliberations to chalk out the future course of action,” he said.
Khanna, however, said the BJP was not restricted to hold deliberations with the PDP only to form the next government.
“We have kept other options also open. The party can explore those possibilities also to form the next government,” he added.
The PDP, on the other hand, said the deadlock continued over the government formation.
“There has been no progress so far. We have not started any formal negotiations with any party,” PDP’s chief spokesperson Naeem Akhtar said. “It is very difficult to form the government in view of the nature of the fractured mandate. But we want the government should be formed at earnest. ”
The election results threw fractured mandate in the 87-member Assembly. The PDP emerged as the largest political party grabbing 28 seats, followed by the BJP with 25; the National Conference bagged 15 seats while the Congress got 12.
On Wednesday, after meeting Governor NN Vohra the PDP President, Mehbooba Mufti while claiming support of 55 MLAs, said the poll mandate was an “opportunity” for Prime Minister Nardenra Modi and invoked former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The BJP appreciated Mehbooba’s “gesture” and hoped the dialogue with PDP would start soon.
The PDP, which shared power with the Congress from 2002 to 2008, has often repeated it has kept all options open for government formation and was not even averse to the idea of the “grand alliance”.
On the other hand, the NC, which suffered its worst-ever defeat in Assembly elections, said it would not be part of an alliance of which Congress is a constituent.
The Congress had also taken a U-turn over the idea of “grand alliance” mooted by former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.