Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra has asked the PDP and BJP to sort out the issue of government formation, prodding the two parties into action on Monday amid speculation of the 10-month-old alliance facing an imminent collapse.
The governor’s move came a day after PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti hardened the party’s stand and sought definite assurances on tricky issues from the BJP as well as the Centre before deciding on government formation.
According to sources, the governor has written to both the BJP and the PDP after Mehbooba told her party cadres that the decision to align with the right-wing party was courageous, but unpopular.
Vohra has called both Mehbooba and state BJP chief Sat Pal Sharma for separate meetings on Tuesday at the Raj Bhavan in Jammu.
Mehbooba is scheduled to meet the governor on Tuesday morning which will be followed by a meeting between Vohra and the BJP state president.
The state BJP’s core group also met on Monday morning to discuss the political uncertainty.
Party sources said a three-member delegation of Sat Pal Sharma, former deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh and MP Jugal Kishore will leave for Delhi later in the day to discuss the issue with the party high command.
“We haven’t heard from anyone,” Sat Pal told reporters after the meeting, in reference to the PDP’s conditions.
“But if we get it in writing than it can be discussed. The common minimum programme is for six years but certain things can also be added it in due course of time,” he added.
Another BJP leader Ramesh Arora said too said that “nothing has changed” after the demise of Sayeed.
“We have assured Mehbooba Mufti of the full term but if they are putting new conditions we can also think about rotational chief ministers,” Arora added.
Sources said that Mehbooba will meet party legislatures in Srinagar on Monday to discuss the issue of government formation, the sources added.
The state was placed under governor’s rule after the death of incumbent chief minister and Mehbooba’s father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed in January.
Vohra had earlier too written to the two parties last month to clear their stand on government formation. In its reply, the BJP had said the PDP had to first elect its leader and then it will respond.
The delay in oath-taking by Mehbooba, which was initially attributed to Mehbooba being in mourning, now hinges on whether the BJP can fulfill the various conditions set by the PDP.
Sources said the PDP chief wants the Centre to deliver on promises made in the agenda of alliance. It also wants BJP cadres to refrain from demanding abrogation of Article 370 and wants the Centre to back its stand on scrapping of the controversial AFSPA.
In her address to her party workers, Mehbooba on Sunday said the party will take a call on government formation as and when it was confident that the vision and mission of Mufti Sayeed will be carried forward.
Some senior PDP leaders have indicated that there is a trust deficit between the two parties that needs to be resolved.
Mehbooba had said that the party can’t form the government just for the sake of the power as certain quarters, both In J&K and in New Delhi were creating controversies over “avoidable contentious issues”.
She was referring to writ petitions filed in the high court for ensuring beef ban and challenging the constitutional validity of the state flag. The petitions were filed by state BJP leaders.