Peoples Democratic Party led by Mehbooba Mufti has been sidelined in the political scenario of Jammu and Kashmir ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party pulled out of the coalition government in the state. There have been talks of a set of disgruntled MLAs from the PDP who are looking to form a government overriding the party president Mehbooba Mufti. PDP MLA Abid Ansari had raised the temperature by stating that he was in talks with many MLAs from inside the party who were willing to break away from what he called Mufti’s “dynastic rule”. There had been talks of People Conference MLA Sajjad Lone becoming head of the united coalition with BJP, but a new name has come up amidst the changing political scene. It seems likely that Jammu and Kashmir might have its first Hindu CM in the days to come. BJP has shown interest in forming government in the state rather than carrying on with Governor’s rule. BJP is reportedly planning to appoint Union Minister and MP from Jammu Jitendra Singh as the CM candidate in the state.
Minister of State (MoS) (Independent Charge) for the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, Prime Minister Office, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space are the portfolios Jitendra Singh holds currently. He won the 2014 Lok Sabha elections fighting from the Udhampur seat on BJP ticket. He defeated Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. His credentials far outweigh those of any other leader from the state in the contest for the CM’s chair. It is quite likely that Jitendra Singh would be announced as the next CM by the BJP government if it decides to enter into a coalition with Sajjad Lone and PDP breakaway faction. It would be a historic decision for the state where the exodus of Hindus from the valley has always been a sore point.
There are also some talks of Sajjad Lone and Imran Ansari being offered the Deputy CM chair. While Imran Ansari would represent the PDP faction, Sajjad Lone would bring his own fair share of support from the valley. Sajjad Lone had praised PM Modi prior to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and was criticized by National Conference leader Omar Abdullah for doing so. It would not be too difficult therefore, for the BJP to pull in the support of Sajjad and the already disgruntled PDP MLAs to their fold.
Reports suggest that the move to appoint the first Hindu CM in the state could be taken after the Amarnath Yatra ends. An immediate appointment is not being done as it could prove to be difficult with the arrangements and security of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and it would be difficult considering the natural calamities the state is battling right now. BJP would probably give the biggest gift to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and it will be a true victory of secularism in the valley where Hindus have been the targets for too long. Let us hope the state would not have to wait for a Hindu CM for long.