Jammu: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday hinted that the Bharatiya Janata Party will play a crucial role in government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the newly-elected MLAs, the BJP's central observer said that a number of options are open to forming government in J&K. “Whoever forms the government, BJP will have a crucial role to play in view of the fact that it has the highest popular vote in the elections,” added Jaitley.
The minister added that the meeting of newly-elected BJP MLAs authorised party president Amit Shah to take a decision on the strategy in Jammu and Kashmir.
BJP's formula for government formation will be on three principles - development, strengthening India's sovereignty and maintaining regional balance, said Jaitley.
Without revealing the strategy, the minister said the party was in touch with unattached members but described as inaccurate reports that it was in discussions with other party leaders in the state.
"Whether to wait and watch or be active, we will not talk about the strategy to the media," he said, adding there are no two opinions among the MLAs on the strategy to be adopted.
Explaining the highest popular mandate for the party, Jaitley said BJP won 25 out of the 76 seats it contested where as the other major parties contested all the 87 seats.
"Our votes is higher than those who have contested all the seats. Our strike rate is high. We have the highest popular vote. We have an overwhelming mandate in the Jammu region while the Valley has been divided between PDP (25 seats), National Conference (15) and Independents (5)."
The MLAs discussed all issues including government formation in a hung House and who the leader should be in the new House and what role the party would be adopted.
There was a consensus that Government should be formed and which benches the party should occupy, he said.
Jaitley, who was deputed as central observer along with BJP national secretary Arun Singh, flew in here this morning and met MLAs separately as well as collectively.
Jaitley's press conference came hours after the BJP denied reports that its leadership had held discussions with National Conference (NC) on government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Amid media reports that the outgoing chief minister Omar Abdullah had met BJP president Amit Shah in New Delhi last night, party general secretary Ram Madhav tweeted, "News about BJP leaders meeting NC leadership in Delhi baseless".
Omar, who left for Srinagar after an overnight stay in the national capital, refused to be drawn into such speculation and said that he had come to the capital preparatory to departure to London on Saturday to meet his father Farooq Abdullah who has undergone a kidney transplant, and his mother, Molly who donated her kidney to her husband.
Asked about government formation after a hung verdict in the Assembly polls, Omar, who is working president of NC, said that his party's stand had been made clear when he had offered to support the rival PDP of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in this regard. That offer stood and it was for the PDP to take a call on it.
PDP emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats in the 87-member Assembly followed by BJP with 25, all of them in Jammu region, and NC with 15 while Congress got 12 seats.
(With PTI inputs)