Ever since the BJP withdrew support to Mehbooba Mufti on June 19, the PDP is plagued with rebellion.

SRI NAGAR, July 22:

As the Legislative Assembly’s fate hangs in the balance with J&K Governor NN Vohra choosing not to dissolve it, the State might get its first chief minister from Jammu or the first Shia CM or even a CM from a party with only two MLAs. Ever since the BJP withdrew support to Mehbooba Mufti on June 19, the PDP is plagued with rebellion.

Political scientist Adil Ahmad ruled out any alliance between the PDP, which has 28 members, and Congress (12), or between the NC (15) and the BJP (25). He said the possibility now was the BJP forming the government on its own with the support of dissident PDP members, its Sajad Gani Lone-led ally Peoples Conference which has two MLAs, and some independent legislators.

In such an equation, there are three possibilities —  one being the Muslim-majority state getting the first CM from Jammu where the BJP has all its 25 seats.“As BJP draws its strength from Jammu, the party will, for the first time, try to have a CM from Jammu so that it is able to draw benefit from the move in the next elections,” Ahmad said. Another possibility is the State getting a first Shia chief minister in Imran Raza Ansari, who has broken away from PDP along with four other MLAs.

Majid Nazir, a keen Kashmir watcher, said if Imran is able to get 14 more PDP legislators and ally with BJP, then they can manage the anti-defection law as the Speaker belongs to the BJP. However, he said in doing so, the BJP would be playing with the sensitive fault lines of the state, and bring out in the open differences between Sunnis and Shia, that could become disastrous for the security situation. Unlike the rest of the Muslim world, the Shia-Sunni divide is not as wide in J&K and the two communities live in comparative peace. But promoting a Shia as the CM against the majority Sunnis could boomerang not only for BJP but also for the central government in the long run.

Yet another equation, which at the moment seems more plausible, is BJP promoting Sajad Gani Lone as the chief ministerial candidate. Lone has been loyal to the BJP ever since he entered into an alliance with it after meeting his “elder brother” Narendra Modi before the 2014 polls. Recently BJP’s national general secretary Ram Madhav met him and discussed government formation possibilities.

What could come in Lone’s way is his party’s meagre strength, and if Ansari is able to woo more legislators, then he would certainly ask for a better deal than what Sajad would get. However, sources say former finance minister Haseeb Drabu, could also steal the limelight.  Drabu, who played a key role in the formation of PDP-BJP government, is said to enjoy personal relations with Madhav, BJP’s pointsman on Kashmir.

Courtesy: Indian Express