After seven weeks of negotiations, the BJP and the PDP are likely to announce the formation of a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir by Monday, having reportedly finalised the first written draft of a common minimum programme.
Sources said the parties have agreed on phased revocation of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from peaceful areas but not without getting “the Army on board”. A verbal understanding has been reached, sources told HT, adding that the BJP was unwilling to give any written assurance.
The common minimum programme would maintain status quo on Article 370 that grants the border state special status.
The initial agreement also widens the scope of cross-LoC trade and travel, renegotiations of NHPC power projects and their handing over to the state, sources said. It reportedly extends certain concessions to the refugees from West Pakistan in terms of employment but the PDP remains non-committal on granting them citizenship.
Taking aim at the PDP for the second consecutive day, National Conference chief Omar Abdullah said the PDP-BJP tie-up was decided “ages ago”. “The PDP-BJP tie up was a done deal ages ago, all this was just Mufti Syed’s grandstanding as a tough guy to undo the damage in the valley,” Abdullah tweeted. “Only an idiot would have concluded that Mufti Syed’s drama over the last few days meant PDP-BJP were actually having difficulty joining up,” the former CM said in another tweet.
PDP’s main negotiator Dr Haseeb Drabu returned to Jammu from New Delhi on Saturday afternoon with the first copy and details of the agreement. PDP patron and CM candidate Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and party president Mehbooba Mufti later went into a huddle with party leaders in Jammu to discuss the common minimum programme.
After a final nod from the PDP leadership, a top delegation of the party, comprising at least six members, will travel to New Delhi to attend a joint press conference with the BJP where both parties will announce the formation of a coalition government.