Altaf Bukhari Likely to be CM: Sources
Srinagar, Nov 21: According to reports, the PDP, Congress and the National Conference have sealed a deal to form a popular government in Jammu and Kashmir and senior leader of Mehbooba Mufti’s party Altaf Bukhari is likely to be the next chief minister of the state, sources reveal.
The coalition is potentially a far-reaching realignment of political forces in Jammu and Kashmir. The PDP has 28 MLAs, followed by NC with 15 and Congress with 12 which will take them well clear of the majority mark of 44.
Bukhari, a former Finance Minister, emerged as the consensus candidate to be the Chief Minister. He confirmed that the three parties have decided to join hands to form the government and people in the state will soon get ‘good news’.
The National Conference have made it clear that they were not interested in joining a coalition government but would back the government from outside.
The state is currently under Governor’s rule which cannot be extended after it completes its six-month period on December 19. A popular government headed by the People’s Democratic Party’s Mehbooba Mufti fell when its partner BJP pulled out of the ruling coalition on June 16.
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.
The move has been made in order to checkmate such efforts to prop up another BJP-backed government which is why the Congress, PDP and the National Conference initiated talks to form a government.
Coming together of traditionally bitter rivals, the PDP and the NC, would mark a significant realignment of political forces in the state. The National Conference had offered its support to the PDP after the 2014 assembly polls but the latter ignored the offer and aligned with the BJP instead.