JK alliance: PM Modi has 'open mind, no favourites'

Greater Kashmir

‘Junks’ contention that New Delhi won’t cooperate with JK in case of a non-BJP alliance

New Delhi, Jan 15:  The much-talked-about possible alliances on government formation in Jammu and Kashmir may be a matter of speculation in the state’s political and apolitical circles, but the Prime Minister NarendraModi’s thinking on the subject is clear: “open mind and no favourites.”
Highly placed sources disclosed to Greater Kashmir that Modi’s take on the BJP’s alliance in Jammu and Kashmir is “full cooperation to the alliance partner whichever the party it is—NC, PDP or any other.”  And this “thinking”, the sources added, has been there even before the recent election results—declared on December 23—threw up a hung verdict.
“The PM’s mind on J&K alliance has been, and continues to be, that the Centre shall support any alliance that may take the final shape at the end of the day,” the sources, privy to the PM’s view, said. “There are no favorites. His mind is open. The Prime Minister is head of the country. And given this position, it’s a much narrowed line of thinking that the PM will have specific choices on the subject or prefer an alliance that is thrust on BJP or that BJP thrusts on a party in J&K. It’s a matter of Centre-State relation, after all, which happens to be a very sensitive issue.”   
According to sources, the PM has “shared” his “views” on J&K alliance with one of his Kashmir-based acquaintances who happened to meet him in New Delhi on January 17—six days before the J&K elections results were announced. “The PM maintains these views even today. All I can say there is nothing like he is for NC-centric or PDP-centric or Congress-centric tie-up. There is nothing like compulsion here. He is for an alliance in view of the fractured verdict and support from New Delhi to that alliance that ultimately comes up,” they said.
The Prime Minister, the sources said, has also “trashed certain reports and indicators” that his NDA government at the Centre won’t cooperate with J&K in case of a non-BJP alliance in the state. “Alliances are much beyond the issue of cooperation. They are about development of states, irrespective of which parties run them. If it were the case, then governments in non-BJP-run states would have collapsed by now in terms of finances and central support. All states are entitled to central assistance which they get as a matter of their right. It’s an extremely weak view that if BJP is not part of the J&K government, it would not cooperate with the state leadership vis-à-vis central funding.”
This “entire issue”, the sources said, “is about statesmanship and the Prime Minister has already announced in Srinagar that he is for ‘vikas’ (development) of all regions of Jammu and Kashmir.”
In the backdrop of this thinking, the Prime Minister, the sources said, also “appreciated” a news report in Greater Kashmir in its January 1st edition which said the PDP patron Mufti Sayeed was not averse to “greater alliance (on government formation in case the BJP turns down the PDP’s agenda of alliance and that he (Mufti) won’t lead the government in that case.”
According to sources, even as certain reports indicated the “inclination of some J&K parties with BJP than the grand alliance between NC, Congress and PDP”, the Prime Minister’s “thinking on the issue hasn’t changed much because it’s not about appeasements, but about government formation and its functioning in the larger interest of people.”
Pertinently, the December 23 election results threw up a fractured verdict 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.
While PDP and BJP are reportedly in touch on the issue of government formation, the National Conference two days back moved the Governor’s office—Raj Bhawan—to formally reiterate its support to the Peoples Democratic Party on government formation in Jammu and Kashmir. The PDP however turned down the offer.