January 2016 News

Amid Stalemate, Parties Moving To Plan B

22 January 2016
Rising Kashmir
Faisul Yaseen

Srinagar: As the stalemate over the government formation continues with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failing to re-stitch their alliance for forging an alliance following the death of Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, all major mainstream parties are warming up for the midterm polls. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti Thursday indicated that the party would go back to the drawing board and urged the party leaders to organize worker conventions at the district headquarters. She also asked the party leaders to gear up for the party's membership drive from January 31. PDP has so far failed to patch up with its alliance partner following the death of the sitting chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed on January 7. Mufti's daughter Mehbooba was tipped to be the first woman chief minister of Jammu Kashmir but she showed reluctance to take oath as the CM, delaying the government formation and paving way for the Governor's rule in the State. With the continuing political uncertainty, PDP's alliance partner BJP is also keeping its options open and is ready for midterm polls if the two parties fail to forge the alliance for the second time. Talking to Rising Kashmir, BJP General Secretary (Organisation), Ashok Koul said BJP was prepared for midterm polls. 'If midterm polls are held, we'll fight,' he said. 'We are prepared.' Koul said the performance of 10-month PDP-BJP government headed by the Mufti Sayeed would not impact the party's prospects. 'We will do better than what we did in 2014 Legislative Assembly polls,' he said. 'We will double our seat tally.' The saffron party has already started its membership drive and the BJP high command had asked Koul to meet all prominent personalities from Kathua to Srinagar. BJP spokesman Khalid Jehangir told Rising Kashmir that the party has already started a mega membership drive and if midterm polls are held, people would see BJP's report card and vote for the party for its 'progressive agenda'. 'We will go for midterm polls with the same slogans that we had during the previous Assembly polls,' he said. While PDP and BJP, who ruled the State for the past 10 months, are preparing their contingency plan incase midterm polls are held, National Conference (NC) and Congress who were in the opposition also have their Plan B ready. Talking to Rising Kashmir, NC Provisional President Kashmir, Nasir Aslam Wani said, 'We are ready for midterm polls, our cadre is ready and even people are eager for midterm polls.' He said NC has already started a membership drive and the party high command has asked the leadership to visit areas where the drive has not been conducted and complete the process by January 31. NC is also holding its internal elections soon. Congress too is ready for the midterm polls but first wants the parties creating an environment of political uncertainty in the State to take responsibility for it. 'Elections aren't an easy exercise,' State Congress Chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir told Rising Kashmir. 'Who will take responsibility for the midterm polls?' Expressing optimism over the performance of Congress, he said the party would recover. 'We'll definitely stage a comeback,' he said. 'People of J&K are politically conscious and they now know only Congress can run a government as they have seen NC, PDP, and BJP fail.' Congress too has started its membership drive, which is now in its third leg. 'When it is time for participating in polls, Congress has always been a frontrunner and never ran away from the democratic process,' Mir said. 'Political parties having round-the-clock preparations for polls even in power, sometimes for local bodies' polls other times for Lok Sabha ad Legislative Assembly polls and when there are no polls, parties are still preparing for bi-polls,' he added.