The political situation in Jammu and Kashmir has changed suddenly and dramatically. Four years since the Bharatiya Janata Party entered into a coalition government with the People's Democratic Party, the BJP pulled out of the coalition. Despite problems between the alliance parties escalating in recent months, particularly after BJP ministers came out in support of the accused in the heinous rape and murder case of a minor in Kathua, the PDP was taken by surprise. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti submitted her resignation after BJP's decision.
After these dramatic developments, there has been much speculation about the political scenarios in terms of government formation in Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP indicated that it would be better to establish President's rule (read BJP-led Central Government rule), reasoning that this would be helpful in controlling the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. So, is Jammu and Kashmir moving towards President's rule? Or are there any other possibilities by which a government can be formed?
First let’s take a look at the status of the parties in the current J&K assembly, as per the results of the assembly elections in December 2014. The PDP has 28 seats, BJP 25, National Conference 15 and Congress 12 seats. Apart from this, the People's Conference has 2 seats and CPI(M) and People's Democratic Front one seat each. There are also three Independent MLAs in the Legislative Assembly. Significantly, the term of the assembly in Jammu and Kashmir is 6 years.
In the 87-member assembly, 44 seats are required for simple majority. So, what are the possibilities, given this distribution of seats.
PDP and Congress form the government together and get support from three independents and CPI(M). The PDP has 28 seats and the Congress has 12 seats. They will need another 4 seats for a simple majority, which can be managed with the support of one CPI(M) MLA and three independents.
National Conference and Congress could combine and PDP can support them from outside. The National Conference has 15 seats and the Congress has 12 seats. In this scenario, they need support of at least 17 legislators to form a government. PDP has 28.
If PDP and National Conference combine, with Congress support from outside, then a majority government can be formed. PDP’s 28 MLAs and National Conference’s 15 MLAs will be just two short of the majority mark. They could also get the support of the CPI(M) MLA and one Independent, or any other party.
The National Conference could also combine with the BJP. The National Conference has 15 seats while the BJP has 25 seats. In this case, the coalition will need only 4 seats more for the majority, which can be obtained from independents and others.
BJP indicated in its press conference after pulling out of the alliance with PDP that President's rule is a better option for the state. In such a situation, the Centre may try for President's rule in Jammu and Kashmir. Fresh elections in Jammu and Kashmir could be announced along with assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram later this year.