A political deadlock triggered by a hung verdict in Jammu and Kashmir is continuing even as governor NN Vohra's deadline for political parties to sort out the issue of government formation ends on Monday.
People's Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed met Vohra two days ago and the two are understood to have discussed the issue.
According to reports, the PDP is believed to have sought assurances from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on certain key issues before the two parties can come together to form a government in the state.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti had meet with Vohra last month over the issue. She had dropped hints that her party is not averse to joining hands with the BJP.
Sayeed's meeting with Vohra was an important step towards government formation in the state, PTI cited a unnamed senior PDP leader as saying.
"Obviously, government formation has been discussed by our party leader... There are certain issues on which the PDP needs assurances from the BJP. Once we are satisfied on that count, a new dispensation will be in place," he told PTI.
While leaders of the two parties have been trying to draw up a common minimum programme, PDP has sought clarifications from BJP about their position over revocation of Article 370, Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (Afspa), delimitation issues and the chief minister's tenure.
The party had on January 14 declined to accept the offer of National Conference for support to formation of PDP-led government in the state.
"The people have voted against the National Conference in the elections and with just 15 seats, they (NC) cannot decide on the government formation," PDP spokesperson Nayeem Akhtar had said.
In Delhi, BJP president Amit Shah said no government will be possible in J-K without the BJP.
"At one time, we could never cross 12 seats in the assembly. But this time, we have won 25 seats. Because of the unusual political situation, we could not form the government but the results show that no government can be formed without us," he said while addressing party workers.
Formation of government in the state has acquired further sense of urgency in view of the upcoming Rajya Sabha bypolls which will decide, among others, the fate of Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of Opposition from the Congress in the Upper House.
In Srinagar, the PDP leader said, "The upcoming Rajya Sabha polls are going to force the pace of talks with the BJP for government formation and a new dispensation is likely to be in place by the day of voting on February 7."
Election Commission of India last week announced that the election for four Rajya Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir will be held on February 7.
The results of the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir on December 23 threw up a hung assembly with the PDP emerging as the single largest party bagging 28 seats in the 87-member house. The BJP came close second with 25 seats while National Conference bagged 15 seats followed by Congress with 12 seats and others winning seven seats.
Governor's rule was imposed in the state on January 8, a day after former chief minister Omar Abdullah asked Vohra to relieve him of the caretaker responsibilities with immediate effect.
No party or combination of parties has staked claim for government formation in the state so far. If the PDP-BJP combine becomes a reality, it can sweep all the four Rajya Sabha seats as the election authorities has decided to issue three notifications for the election as was done in 2009, when ruling Congress-National Conference coalition bagged all the four seats.
The BJP is keen to increase its strength in Rajya Sabha where the government is in minority and the Centre had to take the ordinance route for enacting certain laws in view of stiff opposition in the Upper House of Parliament.
The PDP leader said his party is keen on having a bigger say in state issues while giving a bigger share of Rajya Sabha seats to the BJP.
(with PTI inputs)