Mehbooba Mufti To Stake Claim To Form Government In Jammu And Kashmir

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Mehbooba Mufti says she has the support of Congress and Omar Abdullah's National Conference.

Srinagar:

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti says she will stake claim to form government in the state with support from the Congress and National Conference.

Ms Mufti has tweeted a letter that she has been trying to send to Governor Satya Pal Malik, which states that since she is not is Srinagar currently, she will soon be meeting him to stake the claim for forming the government in the state.

"As you are aware that Peoples Democratic Party is the largest party in the State assembly having a strength of 29. You might have gathered from the media reports that the Congress and National Conference has a strength of 15 and the Congress 12. That takes over collective strength to 56," her letter reads.

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The majority mark in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly is 44.

The coalition is meant to stymie what sources allege are the BJP's attempts to engineer defections and take power in the state where six-month central rule ends next month. If it crystallizes, such a coalition could be the model for the much-discussed BJP vs Rest contest in the 2019 national election.

The BJP calls it a desperate attempt by the parties to keep their flock together. "Their attempts to come together will not succeed," said a BJP leader.

The BJP, which dumped the PDP and forced Mehbooba Mufti to quit as chief minister in June, supports a "third front" led by Sajjad Gani Lone of the People's Conference.

The BJP has 26 members and Sajjad Lone's party has just two lawmakers, but reports suggest attempts to split the PDP and poach Congress and National Conference lawmakers to raise enough numbers for a majority. There is a theory that if these attempts fail, the centre will aim at state elections in March.

Yesterday, PDP parliamentarian Muzaffar Baig threatened to quit his party and hinted at backing Sajjad Lone. He did not rule out forming a government, saying there were people within his party "who want an elected government".

On the PDP and National Conference possibly joining hands, Mr Baig said: "It will be an alliance of one religion. Jammu would not like it, Ladakh will not remain part of the state. This will lead to trifurcation of the state."

Read the full letter here:

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Mehbooba Mufti wrote a letter to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik.

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