Grand alliance unlikely again in J&K

Sheikh Qayoom   |  Jammu/ Srinagar


The otherwise warring PDP, National Conference and Congress may have tried -- though failed -- to cobble a coalition in Jammu and Kashmir but they are unlikely to come together again.

Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday night disappointed the hopes of the three parties which overcame decades of confrontation with one another to join hands to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Peoples Conference of Sajad Lone away from power.

In the process, however, the Governor has put an end to the lingering political turbulence in the state.

Politics being the art of the possible was demonstrated amply when arch rivals Peoples Democratic Party, Congress and National Conference chose to shake hands to provide a coalition government in a state with a hung Assembly.

The neck breaking speed with which political events took shape on Wednesday had many media persons running from pillar to post to know what was happening.

Senior PDP leader and former Minister Altaf Bukhari emerged as the dark horse for the Chief Minister's post in the intended alliance between the PDP and the Congress with the National Conference's outside support.

Both Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah declined to take the Chief Minister's post in a highly fluid situation.

Even when PDP leader and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti wrote to Governor Satya Pal Malik claiming the support of 56 MLAs in the 87-member Assembly, senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that discussions were on to form an alliance.

Azad said the idea of the three parties coming together was still at its infancy as serious deliberations were yet to be undertaken to work out the contours of such a "grand alliance".

The fear of poaching had already rattled the PDP, with at least four to five of its MLAs rising in open rebellion against Mehbooba Mufti.

There were reports that some MLAs in the Congress and National Conference were also weighing options to join a third front headed by Sajad Lone of the Peoples Conference backed by the BJP, the PDP's foe-turned-friend-foe.

To the extent of applying breaks on probable flight of their MLAs, the dissolution of the Assembly has come handy for the PDP, Congress and the National Conference.

Pundits say that it is highly unlikely that a grand alliance of this kind would be formed by the three parties to fight the next Assembly elections. 

Wednesday's one off decision was dictated by political expediency that momentarily forced the three mainstream players to sink their differences -- for a while.-IANS