National Conference moves Raj Bhawan to reaffirm support to PDP
Jammu, Jan 13: In a significant political development, the National Conference moved the Governor’s office—Raj Bhawan—on Tuesday to formally reiterate its support to the Peoples Democratic Party on government formation in Jammu and Kashmir—the move seen as a “political masterstroke” by the NC leadership.
Amid stalemate over government formation in the state in the wake of a hung verdict that the recent elections threw up, the NC reiterated its support to the PDP “in the larger interest of the people of Jammu and Kashmir”, with the former Chief Minister and Working President of National Conference Omar Abdullah today urging the Governor NN Vohra to “consult the party leadership before taking any final decision regarding the future of the present Assembly and its viability in the formation of a government.”
NC’s Provincial President for Jammu Devender Singh Rana this afternoon delivered a communiqué to the Governor wherein Omar has—as a consequence of the meeting of NC’s Core Group in Srinagar yesterday—informed Vohra that his party has offered its support to the PDP which has emerged as single-largest in the just-concluded Assembly elections.
“However the political impasse in the state due to indecisiveness of the PDP has led to the imposition of the Governor’s rule and placing the State Assembly in suspended animation despite an overwhelming participation of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the electoral process,” the communiqué reads.
According to NC insiders, privy to deliberations on the fresh move, the party has informed Vohra that it has offered the “unconditional support” of its 15 members to the PDP on government formation but the latter is “mute” on it.
“The political impasse is certainly not good and a cause of concern for us as a regional party. The question is when the PDP, which has its 28 members, has unconditional support of our 15 legislators, why is it reluctant to form the government with us?” said a National Conference leader. “Together we can get 43 members. Plus we have the support of few more MLAs and we can therefore form a very stable government. It will be more stable than the PDP-Congress tie-up wherein they require support of more independents, thus leading to fears of greater instability.”
The National Conference is, according to the party insiders, also of the opinion that the PDP’s alliance with it can ensure representation to all regions of the state—Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh. “It’s being argued that this formation (NC-PDP tie-up) won’t ensure representation to Jammu, for instance. But we can say with authority that Jammu and Ladakh, apart from Kashmir, will get due representation because we not only have some of our own members from there, but support of few more independents as well. And this has been communicated to the Governor as well.”
Pertinently, the Core Group of National Conference—its top decision-making body headed by Omar Abdullah—Monday said it won’t enter into an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“The core group meeting reiterated its offer of support to the PDP for forming the Government. We want an end to the political uncertainty in the State,” NC’s General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said after the meeting.
J&K came under the Governor’s rule on January 8 after none of the political parties could come up with the requisite numbers in the 87-member State Assembly to stake claim to the Government formation.
The December 23 election results threw up a hung assembly with PDP emerging as single largest party winning 28 seats—16 short of majority. The BJP with 25 seats stood second followed by NC with 15 and Congress with 12 seats. Soon after the election results, Omar offered support to the PDP for government formation. However he put the onus on the PDP for approaching him.
In return, the PDP said it was ready to take National Conference’s support if the latter “formally makes a forward movement”.
“We didn’t get any response from their (PDP) side on our offer. We will abide by our assurance and fulfill the required formalities to prove our support to them (PDP) when the time comes. Let them make the beginning,” Sagar had said.
OMAR CHAIRS MEETING OF PARTY LEADERS
Meanwhile, Omar Tuesday presided over a meeting of party members who contested the recent Assembly elections, here, to discuss the post-poll scenario.
The meeting, which lasted for over seven hours, reiterated its offer of support to the PDP on forming the government.
Sources said the meeting discussed the party’s performance in the recent elections which saw it plummeting to worst performance in its electoral history. The National Conference won 15 seats—13 seats less than the 2008 polls.
The agenda of the meeting, which was held at NC headquarter Nawai-Subh here, was to discuss various organizational matters and seek feedback from the party leaders.
Reiterating the commitment of National Conference to “preserve the ideological goals which have been enshrined in the party’s history”, Omar said the party would never compromise on its ideals for political expediency and convenience.
“National Conference is not just another political party that can adjust the rudder and set the course of political expediency at the sight of power. NC is the party founded and rooted in the ideology of dignity and empowerment, of safeguarding the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. And we remain steadfast in that mission,” he said.
Omar also spoke about the importance of enhancing the party’s organizational structure and said “such an enhancement would happen systematically and effectively.”
“We will rejuvenate the organizational structure to be in an optimal shape where we can march forward to reclaim the position of strength that we had during the best days of our organization. This rejuvenation will be based on better connect, more effective two-way communication and a thorough incentivization of sincerity and hard-work. We will also have an effective, transparent and direct membership drive that would eliminate procedural red-tape and unnecessary complexities. No hegemony should be tolerated at the grassroots and emphasis should be laid on reaching out to as many youth as possible,” he said.