Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti hinted on Friday she could snap ties with coalition partner BJP if the Centre didn’t announce confidence-building measures (CBMs) to end the political stalemate in Jammu and Kashmir and form a government.
At a meeting in Jammu, Mehbooba told party workers the new measures were aimed at creating a “positive atmosphere” before the new government was formed. She said the announcement shouldn’t be construed as a “blackmailing” tactic.
“You can’t form a government in the air. The point is how to create an encouraging atmosphere so that if a new government is formed, there is a way forward for creating goodwill among the people. And for it you need the support of the government. If we get it is fine, if not, then we will move on as we have been doing till now,” the 56-year-old leader said.
The state has been under governor’s rule since former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed died on January 7, leaving behind a rocky coalition of ideologically-divergent partners.
Mehbooba hinted that the new measures should be political and not economic in nature, a day after governor NN Vohra appointed two advisers, a move interpreted as a pressure tactic by the Centre to show it was not averse to prolonging governor’s rule.
The appointment of former IAS officers Parvez Dewan and Khurshid Ganaie as advisers was seen as a response to Mehbooba’s CBMs, although BJP leaders on February 2 sought from the governor 10 days to reply on government formation.
“The governor needs people to run an administration. He can’t do everything single-handedly. Nothing much should be read about the appointment of advisers,” former minister and BJP leader Bali Bhagat clarified.
A political observer said the BJP was exploring options in the event of the PDP continuing with its reluctance but such tactics wouldn’t work on Mehbooba. “The BJP too is not in a hurry to form a government. The Centre can earn goodwill with immediate pro-people decisions and effective administration.”
State BJP leaders believe the CBMs can’t be implemented immediately and under pressure.
But Mehbooba is in no mood to relent. “It’s not about finances. There could be a delay in getting finances but if the government has to be formed there has to be a way for forward movement,” she said at the meeting where her brother, Tassaduq Mufti, was present.
The political CBMs hinted at could include holding peace talks with separatists and Pakistan, a major bone of contention between the coalition partners.