Jammu: Finance minister Arun Jaitley said Thursday the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will play a “crucial” role in Jammu and Kashmir’s next government, while stressing the party had many options.
Addressing a press conference in Jammu after a meeting of the newly elected MLAs, Jaitley said the legislators had authorised party president Amit Shah to take a call on the future course of action.
“Whoever forms the government, BJP will have a crucial role to play in view of the fact that it has the highest popular vote in the elections.
“We will go (ahead on the issue of government formation) with three principles based on national and state interest. They are: strengthening of national sovereignty, development and regional balance,” he said.
In the recently held elections in the state, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) emerged as the single-largest party with 28 seats, after a neck-and-neck fight with the BJP, which stopped at 25.
Amid speculations over possible alliances, there are reports that the state would see a PDP-led government and party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayed would be its new chief minister.
The big question doing the rounds is: Will the PDP join hands with the BJP? While some feel that could be a political suicide for the PDP, a section in the party thinks the Congress, which has just 12 seats, is not a viable option since voter sentiment is against it.
The National Conference (NC), which managed to bag just 15 seats, has indicated that it was ready to do business with the BJP in the state where no party managed to reach near the majority mark of 44 in the 87-member House.
Without revealing the strategy, Jaitley said the party was in touch with unattached members but described as inaccurate reports that it was in discussions with leaders of other parties.
“Whether to wait and watch or be active, we will not talk about the strategy to the media,” he said, adding there were no two opinions among the MLAs on the strategy to be adopted.
Jaitley said the BJP won 25 out of the 76 seats it contested, whereas the other major parties contested all 87 seats.
“Our strike rate is high. We have the highest popular vote. We have an overwhelming mandate in the Jammu region, while the Valley has been divided among the PDP, National Conference (15) and independents (5).”
After discussions among BJP MLAs, there was a consensus that a government should be formed, he said.
Jaitley, who was deputed as central observer along with BJP national secretary Arun Singh, flew to Jammu Thursday morning and met party MLAs separately as well as collectively.