50-50 chances of midterm poll as suspense over Govt formation continues

SRINAGAR: Senior People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Naeem Akhtar Thursday said that a possibility of midterm poll can neither be ruled out or ruled in as the suspense over the government formation continued with the party president, Mehbooba Mufti staying put for the fourth consecutive day after she was authorised by her party’s core group to take a final call.  

“I am not ruling out or ruling in anything,” Naeem Akhtar told Press Trust of India. “The democracy and its institutions are at work and everything will happen in due course of time.”

Even as PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has decided to continue the alliance with the BJP, it is unclear when she will take oath as the next chief minister of troubled Jammu and Kashmir. 

While ruling out any new political alliance, the Peoples Democratic Party has decided to continue the vision of late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed while working on a new alliance agenda with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Four days after she was authorised by her party’s core group to take a final call on government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti today continued to keep everyone guessing on her next move.

Mehbooba, who is facing demands from opposition National Conference(NC) to quickly take over as chief minister or go in for fresh Assembly polls, held an informal party meeting at her residence here but did not touch upon government formation in the state.

The meeting, chaired by Mehbooba and attended by several leaders of the PDP, was held soon after special prayers for her father and late chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on the 15th day of his death, sources in the PDP said.

The sources, however, said there was no discussion on government formation. The state was placed under Governor’s Rule on January 8, a day after Sayeed’s death.

“It was purely a religious function that many Muslims of Kashmir observe for those who have passed away in their family. There was absolutely no political discussion,” a PDP leader said.

Several senior PDP leaders including Muzaffar Hussain Baigh, Naeem Akhtar and Tariq Hamid Karra were not present at the condolence meeting at Mehbooba’s residence as they were out of station.

The Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) leaders and workers, meanwhile, staged a protest in Jammu demanding dissolution of the Legislative Assembly and holding of fresh elections.

Led by JKNPP Chairman Harsh Dev Singh, scores of party workers assembled at Exhibition Ground and torched an effigy of the central government while raising slogans against BJP.

Describing the present political situation in the state as “ripe” for dissolution of the Assembly, Singh claimed only BJP appeared to be interested in forming the government as PDP has shown its “reluctance” by not responding to any of the communiques from the Governor’s House.

Following the death of Sayeed, the PDP said it will review the implementation of its Agenda of Alliance — entered with the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir — during the term of the coalition government headed by the PDP founder before making a decision on fresh government formation.

Although the party struck a conciliatory note after the core group meeting saying much progress had been made on the Agenda of Alliance, it has not yet given reasons for the ongoing delay in government formation.

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