Ex-separatist leader voices support for stable coalition

Srinagar, Dec 30: People's Conference leader Sajad Gani Lone has voiced his support for a stable coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir but hinted at a positive bias towards BJP, stating that a party at the Centre would help in expediting development process.

"We are open to support any stable government in the state. There should be no uncertainty about the future of the government, whichever coalition comes up in the coming days," Lone told PTI. The ex-separatist leader who won the two assembly seats of Handwara and Kupwara in the recent assembly elections, said that an unstable dispensation cannot deliver on the development front. He said an alliance which has BJP as a constituent will be beneficial for the state.

Jammu and Kashmir

"The BJP is ruling at the Centre .... so a combination which has BJP as part of it, will be beneficial for the state in terms of expediting the development works in the state," he said. The leader maintained that he was open to support a BJP-PDP alliance as much as an alliance between BJP and National Conference. On the ideological differences between BJP and PDP coming in the way of the two parties getting together, Lone said it was for the PDP to decide.

"I cannot answer this question. This has to be answered by the PDP," he added. In response to a question, Lone said his party was even ready to sit in the opposition. Lone who quit the separatist camp in early 2009 to unsuccessfully contest the Lok Sabha polls that year, has emerged as a key player in government formation.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with help of Congress, CPIM and three independents, can reach the 44-seat mark required to form the government in the 87-member assembly in the state but stability of the government will be under scanner given the wafer thin majority for such a combination.

PDP emerged as the single largest party in the results for assembly elections on December 23 while BJP was a close second with 25 seats. Omar Abdullah-led National Conference (NC) won 15 seats followed by Congress, which bagged 12 seats. While talks are on between various parties for government formation, no major headway has been made so far. Congress and NC have offered unconditional support to PDP for forming the next government but the youngest political party of the state has been maintaining a policy of wait and watch on the matter. Meanwhile, a two-member BJP delegation today met Governor N N Vohra to discuss government formation and said it would submit a formal proposal to him on January 1.


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