No new conditions hitch in BJP, PDP thaw over J&K govt formation

  • HT correspondent and agencies, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 23, 2016 20:39 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti in a meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI)

The Jammu and Kashmir coalition partners, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and BJP, have not apparently foisted on or accepted from each other any new conditions to end the long-drawn logjam over forming a new government.

BJP’s point man for the state, Ram Madhav, said on Wednesday the party has not accepted new terms from the PDP but is open to discuss any issues after government formation in the state, which is under governor’s rule since chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s death on January 7.

“No special demand was raised by the PDP. The PDP legislature party meeting will be held on Thursday and we will take action after that,” said Madhav, a BJP national general secretary.

His remarks came a day after PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti had a positive and satisfactory meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, raising hopes of a new government in the state by March-end after months of uncertainty.

Read: Mehbooba, Modi meet raises hopes of new J-K govt by March-end

Modi and Mehbooba didn’t discuss specific issues during their 30-minute one-to-one, Madhav said, referring to the 56-year-old PDP chief’s demand for assurances from the Centre on political and economic packages close to her party’s agenda.

The allies have been trying to negotiate new terms without success ever since governor’s rule was imposed.

Mehbooba, tipped to be the first woman chief minister of the Muslim-majority state after her father’s death, remained reluctant to take over the reins, apparently upset that Sayeed died “a sad man”, regretting the unfulfilled promises made by the Centre.

For its part, the BJP maintained that it remains committed to the agenda of alliance, a document for the coalition government agreed between the two parties.

The central government cannot give assurances to political parties, BJP sources said.

When it appeared that talks for government formation had fallen through after her unsuccessful meeting with BJP chief Amit Shah last week, her positive comments following the meeting with Modi were seen as a breakthrough.

She did not put any conditions during the meeting with Modi, Madhav said.

“Whatever Mufti sahab left behind should be taken forward and we are willing to take it forward in the same form,” he said.

The BJP wants its partner to make the next move, hinting at the PDP’s legislature party meeting in which a new leader will be elected. PDP sources said the position may go to four-time legislator Abdul Rehman Veeri, who will later propose Mehbooba’s name for the chief minister’s post.

Mehbooba is a Lok Sabha MP for Anantnag and not a member of either Houses of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly. She has to get elected to one of the houses within six months.

Read: AR Veeri, not Mehbooba, may be elected PDP legislature party leader

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