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J&K Political Crisis: Amid Mufti’s Claim of Letters of Support, Congress’ Azad Says No Final Decision Was Taken


New Delhi: Amid high drama over PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti’s letter, claiming support of the NC and the Congress, for government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad said no final decision was taken on the alliance and it was just a suggestion even as Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved the state Assembly.

Shortly after the PDP’s claim to form the government, People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone also staked claim to form the government with the help of the 25-member BJP.

Omar Abdullah, tweeting in support of Mufti, said it can’t be a conincidence that the Governor decided to dissolve the Assembly within minutes after Mehbooba Mufti made her letter public. He said they have been pressing the Governor to do so for last five months. Earlier, Mufti claimed that the fax machine at the Governor’s residence was not able to receive the letter and the Governor too could not be reached over phone. Mufti though expressed surprise when the same fax machine was used to issue the official communique on Assembly dissolution.

The PDP is the largest party in the state assembly having the strength of 29. The NC has 15 members while the Congress stands at 12 taking their collective strength to 56. Mehbooba, in her letter, said that she will be meeting the Governor shortly to stake claim to form government in the state.
A popular government headed by the Peoples Democratic Party’s Mehbooba Mufti fell when its partner BJP pulled out of the ruling coalition on June 16.

Earlier today, the NC and the Congress extended support to the PDP to form a popular government in Jammu and Kashmir and, according to sources, senior leader of Mufti’s party Altaf Bukhari would likely be the next chief minister of the state.

Bukhari, a former finance minister, has emerged as the consensus candidate to be the chief minister and held a meeting with NC leader Omar Abdullah on Wednesday.

He confirmed to News18 that the three parties have decided to join hands to form the government and people in the state will soon get ‘good news’.

The leaders of the three parties may meet Governor Satya Pal Malik on Thursday to stake claim, sources said. The coalition is potentially a far-reaching realignment of political forces in Jammu and Kashmir as it will bring together traditionally bitter rivals, the PDP and the NC.

The NC has made it clear that it won’t be a part of the government and would only give outside support.

Political circles were agog with speculation that behind the scene efforts were underway to prop up a government headed by Sajjad Lone’s People Conference, which has only two MLAs but which would be banking on support by the 25 MLAs of BJP.

However, this combination would have fallen short of the required majority of 44 which was sought to be made by splitting the PDP which was rocked by dissidence.

Sources said that in order to stymie such efforts to prop up another BJP-backed government, the Congress, the PDP and the National Conference initiated talks to form a government which advanced at a rapid rate in the last one day.

| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna

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