BJP's Jammu Kashmir Options

While Jharkhand gave a clear verdict, Jammu & Kashmir has given a hung verdict. PDP is the largest party with 28 seats and BJP is close second with 25. NC & Congress didn't do badly as expected with 15 and 12 seats respectively. Congress has jumped and offered support to PDP so that it can stop BJP from getting another state at any cost.

BJP has said it is exploring all options (of course except tying up with Congress). Initially Omar Abdullah offered to support PDP if Mufti approached him, something has however gone sour since then it seems. He has still not recovered from the fact that in 2002 NC was the largest party with 28 seats (same as PDP now) but couldn't form govt. as PDP lured Congress.

In this article we explore the various options with their probabilities.

Option I: PDP + BJP with PDP Chief Minister

Probability very low

BJP wouldn't agree due to its assertive politics which is now associated with it.

Option II: PDP + BJP with BJP Chief Minister

Probability very low

PDP won't agree as it has got more seats than BJP.

Option III: PDP + BJP with power sharing arrangement

Probability high

This is an amicable solution but both parties would want to stake claim to CM post first.

Option IV: BJP + NC + PC + Others with BJP Chief Minister

Probability highest

BJP will push for this. CM post plus one more state in kitty.

Option V: PDP + Congress + Others with PDP Chief Minister

Probability moderate

PDP would not want to associate with a party whose fortunes are not great in the long run. Plus some old tensions in the previous arrangement with Congress can’t be forgotten easily.

Option VI: PDP + NC + Others

Probability very low

These two parties are like Congress and BJP in the state So can't come together.

Option VII: President's Rule

Probability High

BJP will strive for CM post in any formation or go for President's rule.

BJP has become aspirational and assertive under Narendra Modi-Amit Shah combine. So it will push for option IV. It will try to get CM post at any cost. The threat of Governor's rule would also work as danda to make opposition parties to fall in line. It has nothing to lose. If nothing materialises it will rule through Centre and blame regional parties for it.

This new found assertiveness was evident in Maharashtra. BJP broke off with its 25 year ally Shiv Sena, got twice the number of seats, and didn't budge at all on giving Deputy CM post to Sena. In the end Shiv Sena joined ministry and ceded to all points of BJP.

While it will be difficult to partner with NC whom it fought bitterly during election campaign, fact that NC was part of NDA Government during Vajpayee's rule will help. Omar was a minister in NDA Government and had not resigned even after Godhra riots. It is also a good lifeline to NC. The father son-duo is used to power Omar or his father can be also adjusted in Centre. This will also enable expansion of NDA. In effect it is Ghar Wapsi of NC into NDA.

Relationship with PDP is tricky. They have an image of pro-separatists. Plus they have more seats. While coalitions are difficult, BJP accepting a junior position in a ministry appears difficult to digest more so considering the assertive nature now. The relationship could also be rocky as PDP has to fulfil aspirations of Kashmir while BJP has to fulfil Jammu's aspirations. BJP could agree if it gets the shot at CM post for first three years. It will always be suspicious of PDP not handing them over power at the end of 3 years if situation deteriorates. BJP already claiming that it has the backing of Sajjad Lone and some independents making it a larger combination than PDP.

Both BJP and Modi Government are functioning like corporate. Amit Shah has been given targets. The broader target is to saffronise 20 states before 2019 elections. This is crucial for getting majority in Rajya Sabha as elaborated in my article earlier. If it forms the government in J&K then pressure on targets is somewhat reduced.

People of J&K have given a khichdi mandate. So they have to go through some anxious moments. Whether government will be formed or there will be President's rule? Who will form the government? The deadlock will take some time to end. BJP expected to call the shots!

Now I come to my favourite topic. Why did we see a hung assembly? Because apparently so many parties participated. Why do we need so many parties in India? What is the role of regional parties in India? Do they have any ideology? Most of them are family / dynasty driven. Is there a need to adopt a two party / three party system in India? This will be tackled in another article.

Courtesy Niti Central



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