The BJP said on Thursday it is ready to discuss with the PDP time-bound implementation of certain issues in their common agenda in Jammu and Kashmir, raising hopes of ending a 40-day-long stalemate in government formation in the state.
The party’s assertion comes a day after BJP general secretary Ram Madhav held an hour-long meeting with PDP president Mehbooba Mufti at her Srinagar residence.
“(The) talks were positive. Both parties are positive that the state will benefit by continuing with the arrangement which guided our 8-9 month-old government. We can give a stable government with the same arrangement,” Madhav told reporters in Delhi.
Though Madhav said there will be no dilution or any new addition to the “agenda of alliance” between the two parties, he added the BJP is willing to discuss a timeline for implementing a “few issues” mentioned in it.
A three-member PDP team will visit Delhi soon to sort out the issues, he said.
No one in PDP was willing to confirm or deny Madhav’s assertion.
The ideologically opposite parties ran a coalition government for 10 months headed by former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed till his death on January 7. The alliance came under strain after Mehbooba, widely tipped to succeed Mufti, did not stake claim to form the next government.
Mehbooba hardened her stance later, saying the party was unwilling to form the government with BJP unless the Centre takes “tangible” confidence-building measures to address the causes of alienation among the state’s people.
The PDP has 27 MLAs in the 87-member assembly while the BJP has 25. It was the first time the BJP held the reigns in the Muslim-majority state.
The BJP leader said that implementation of the common minimum programme itself was a confidence-building measure and there cannot be a separate CBM..
The CMP includes contentious issues like revoking the controversial Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, commonly referred to as the AFSPA, Article 370 and delimitation.
Madhav, however, denied a media report about BJP agreeing to revoke the AFSPA.
“There has been no discussion on it with Mehbooba. We will go by what the CMP says on AFSPA,” he said.
The PDP is understood to be pressing for revocation of AFSPA and holding talks with separatists among other issues with a specific timeline.
In a separate development, the PDP on Thursday announced constitution of a three-member election board with senior leader Abdul Rehman Veeri as its chairman.
(With agency inputs)