Jammu and Kashmir polls: An upbeat BJP likely to dent PDP's prospects

BJP a stumbling block for PDP
Srinagar, Nov 11: The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which did well in the Lok Sabha elections, hopes for a favourable outcome in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections. But it is staring at a huge stumbling block -- the BJP.

The PDP had won all the three Lok Sabha seats from the Valley as its candidates defeated the regional National Conference (NC) in the Anantnag, Srinagar and Baramulla constituencies.

If one analyses the voting patterns in those elections since assembly constituencies form voting segments for the Lok Sabha seats and also given the premise that the voters may largely follow the same trend, then the PDP may get over 40 seats in the Valley alone.

What worries the PDP activists is that those voting patterns might not repeat with arithmetical accuracy during the assembly elections.

The other big problem the PDP faces in coming to power in the state is the emergence of the BJP.

The BJP has 11 seats in the 87-member state legislative assembly, the PDP 21, the National Conference (NC) 28 and the Congress 17.

The PDP sympathisers are battling against two odds -- the BJP must not get around 30 seats while the PDP must get anything between 35 to 40 seats in order to stake a firm claim to power after the elections.

The NC is definitely on the back foot, but expecting the party to be wiped out in the elections would be stretching it.

It is believed that the NC may do badly while the PDP is likely to do very well, if it gets over 30 seats in the elections.

The BJP expects the Congress to lose heavily in the Jammu region that has 37 seats as compared to 46 in the Valley and four in the Ladakh region.

If the BJP's calculation proves right, the party could comfortably reach the figure of 30.

It is this possibility that has set alarm bells ringing in the PDP.

No single party may get to the magical figure of 44 in these elections which is the simple majority in the 87-member legislative assembly.

The general perception in political circles is that the PDP and the Congress would align after the 2014 assembly elections to form the next government.

This perception would be severely jolted if the BJP gets 30 and the NC manages to get 15 seats.

"To keep the PDP out of power, the NC would support a BJP government from outside. Or we may get the BJP support from outside to run the government if we and the Congress are unable to cobble up a coalition," said a senior NC minister.

The meetings of senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad with Mufti Muhammad Sayeed on the one hand and the reported mending of fences between the NC and the BJP on the other are being seen as new combinations and permutations taking shape in the state.

Whatever be the result of the forthcoming assembly elections, there is little doubt that no single party would be able to form the government on its own.

With that fundamental reality, politics being the art of the possible, any major political party could align with any other party to form the next government in the state.

There is just one exception to this rule in Jammu and Kashmir -- the NC and the PDP would never align with each other under any political compulsion.


(Sheikh Qayoom can be contacted at sheikh.abdul@ians.in)

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