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People will get a good news by tomorrow’, PDP leader hints at grand alliance with Congress, NC

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Srinagar:An alliance of 60 MLAs from Congress, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC) has been forged to form a government in Jammu and Kashmir, PDP leader Altaf Bukhari told media on Wednesday. The leader said that the alliance was formed ‘to protect our (Jammu and Kashmir’s) special identity. “I have no details about the contours of the alliance but it is to protect the special status, 370 and 35A,” Bukhari said in a statement.

“We have to keep communal forces at bay to keep BJP away, we are coming together to form government. Depends whether governor will dissolve assembly before that or will allow them to form government. But people will get a good news by tomorrow,” he assured.

Speculation have been rife since Tuesday night that the three parties were planning to join forces to restrict BJP’s chances of returning to power.

However, the BJP sources have told India TV Congress was trying to form te government with PDP to ensure that its own leader do not abandon the party. Some leaders in Congress and not happy with the party leadership, BJP is keeping an eye on the situation, the sources said.

Yesterday, it was reported that Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP, the Congress and the National Conference were in touch with each other to form a coalition government in the region, which has been under Governor’s rule since BJP pulled out of the ruling coalition with PDP on June 16.

Governor’s rule can not 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 Satyapal Mallik.

Political circles have been agog with speculation that behind the scene efforts were underway to prop up a government headed by Sajjad Lone’s People Conference, which has only two MLAs but which would be banking on support by the 25 MLAs of BJP. However, this combination would fall short of the required majority of 44 which is sought to be made by splitting the PDP which has been rocked by dissidence.

The sources said that in order to checkmate such efforts to prop up another BJP-backed government, mainstream parties such as the Congress, PDP and the National Conference are in touch to form a government.

The plan envisages a coalition between PDP and Congress, which have been partners in a government between 2002 to 2007, backed from outside by the National Conference. The PDP has 28 MLAs, followed by NC with 15 and Congress with 12 which will make up for a clear majority.

The National Conference sources made it clear that they were not interested in joining a coalition government but would not be averse to giving outside support to a PDP-Congress coalition.

If such an arrangement comes about, Mehbooba Mufti is unlikely to be the chief minister but the government may be headed by a senior PDP leader.

Coming together of traditionally bitter rivals, the PDP and the NC, would mark a significant realignment of political forces in the state. The National Conference had offered its support to the PDP after the 2014 assembly polls but the latter ignored the offer and aligned with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

After the June 16 pull-out, Lone is understood to have been approaching disgruntled PDP leaders for forming an alliance with the BJP, the sources said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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