Hectic back channel dialogue was on between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday to ease out the differences on contentious issues, like Article 370 and Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
The track 2 dialogue has entered a 'decisive' mode on Monday and efforts were on to find a common ground on contentious issues. Sources said that PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and economist and senior PDP leader Dr Haseeb Drabu were leading the deliberations and both parties were likely to arrive at a consensus by evening. Mufti has been in Delhi and also attended the reception of BJP president Amit Shah's son on Sunday. She was accompanied by her daughter.
Sources say both the parties are hoping to have the government in place before the Union Budget.
Sources revealed that draft of the Commom Minimum Programme (CMP) was likely to be cleared once Prime Minister Narendra Modi and PDP patron Mufti Sayeed gave their green signals.
PDP sources say an 11-point draft, which includes dialogue with hurriyat and Pakistan, AFSPA and Article 370, will be included.
While the BJP has agreed to most things, including six years chief ministerial term for PDP matron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the PDP is insisting on listing the withdrawal of AFSPA in the CMP draft.
The BJP on the other hand is insisting that AFSPA is "the state government's domain and it can anytime withdraw the Disturbed Area Act.'' Speaking to media, BJP's senior leader from Jammu Dr Nirmal Singh, however, insisted, "AFSPA removal can be with the consent of army."
Sources in the PDP also insisted it is the 'wording' used in the CMP which is creating problems. "Whether it's the withdrawal or revocation of AFSPA, status quo on Article 370 or respecting Article 370,'' said a PDP source.
Mufti was among dignitaries who attended the wedding reception of BJP chief Amit Shah's son on Sunday.
Meanwhile, reports suggest that BJP's agenda will need vetting from parent organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). RSS, sources say, is not "satisfied with the draft of CMP." The PDP is looking for a time frame for revocation while the BJP is reluctant to do so.
The two parties, however, are also to reach a common ground on Article 370, something that is acceptable to the vote bank of both parties. While the PDP had fought the elections with a promise to give more teeth to the Article which gives special status to the state, the BJP had insisted on abrogation of the same.
Although party leaders insist that the dialogue process with the BJP was not affected by the outcome of the Delhi polls, insiders insist the PDP is in a better bargaining position post elections.
The development took place after the two parties had given indications that a government might be formed by February 22.
Party sources say PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is monitoring the dialogue and insists that the PDP would not be part of the government if its demands were not met. "Mufti Sahib doesn't want it to seem like we are blackmailing the BJP post Delhi elections, but he has insisted from the beginning that the government will be formed only when the BJP agrees to the alliance agenda,'' said a PDP leader.