PDP Warming To BJP

28 December 2014
The Hindu
Zahid Rafiq

Srinagar: The Peoples Democratic Party seems to be warming to the idea of joining hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party to form a government in Jammu and Kashmir, despite opposition from within its ranks. 'We have a better chance of protecting the interests of Kashmir from the BJP and the RSS by joining hands with them rather than keeping them away,' a senior PDP leader said. Though the Congress and the National Conference have offered unconditional support, the PDP's response has been that the party is keeping its options open. With Governor N.N. Vohra setting a January 1 deadline for it and the BJP to come up with proposals for government formation, its chief spokesman, Naeem Akhtar, said the party was consulting its MLAs. The Peoples Democratic Party is divided over joining hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party to form a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir. Party sources said here on Sunday that senior leaders like Muzaffar Hussain Baig, Haseeb Drabu and Nizamudin Bhat did see the BJP as a more viable option. The PR machinery of the party has swung into action and has started to speak in a language of unhappiness over being caught in this situation, while at the same time insinuating that if they were to go with the BJP, it would be a suicidal act only to stop the 'flood of the BJP' and to 'safeguard the Kashmiri interest.' The PDP has positioned itself as a Muslim-centric, soft-separatist party, and the decision to join hands with the BJP could be the most important decision for the 15-year-old organisation. While the party has groomed itself over the years as the party with a Kashmiri aspiration at its heart taking over the space occupied earlier by the National Conference, this decision could shift the scales back in favour of the latter.