In what could shape up to be a grand alliance in Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress, the National Conference (NC), and the People's Democratic Party (PDP) are in talks to explore the possibility of forming a government in the state.
Together, the parties hold more than the 44-seat majority mark required to form a government, and reportedly, talks are in "advanced stages".
The Congress-NC-PDP alliance might stake their claim tomorrow
Currently, the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP has 28 MLAs, the Omar Abdullah-led National Conference has 15, while the Congress has 12 - collectively, way more than the 44-seat majority mark.
If reports are to be believed, leaders of the three parties might meet J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik tomorrow to stake their claim.
The move, if it goes through, would be a significant blow to the BJP.
Senior Congress leader says alliance is still being discussed
"The parties (Congress, PDP, NC) felt they should come together and explore government formation in Jammu and Kashmir...we are just discussing a proposal, nothing else," said senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, despite reports saying that the Congress had approved the alliance.
If successful, the model could be replicated for 2019
The move comes at a time when the six-month-long Central rule in the state, imposed in June after the BJP withdrew its support from the PDP, is set to end next month.
If the three parties succeed in forming a government, it could become the model to be followed in the much-discussed 'BJP vs the rest' contest in the 2019 elections.
Meanwhile, the BJP is hatching its own plans
Meanwhile, reports have also surfaced that the BJP, which has 26 MLAs in J&K, are looking to lend its support to a 'third front' led by Sajjad Gani Lone of the People's Conference.
Although the two collectively do not have a majority, the BJP is planning to poach lawmakers from the Congress, PDP, and the National Conference.