J-K govt: PDP's Mehbooba to meet BJP chief Shah, take dialogue forward

  • Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Feb 23, 2015 15:22 IST

Senior PDP leaders are likely to meet BJP president Amit Shah in New Delhi on Monday to take the "dialogue to a new level" but no formal announcement on government formation in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to come out in the meeting.

After seven weeks of negotiations, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the People's Democratic Party are said to have resolved most differences over forming a coalition to rule the state for the next six years.

Sources said PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and party MP Muzaffar Hussain Baig are scheduled to meet Shah to iron out differences on remaining sticky points, which include talks with separatists and implementation of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (Afspa) revocation.

"The talks have shifted to crucial stage now. People should show patience. Announcement will come at an appropriate time. We are in no hurry," said PDP spokesperson Nayeem Akhtar.

Sources added the PDP wants NDA-like engagement with separatists to address in internal dimension.

"The separatist remain stakeholders in Kashmir. It remains a reality. If the internal dimension of Kashmir issue is to be addressed then a serious engagement has to start. Let New Delhi and separatists work out modalities but the PDP will act as bridge," said a top PDP leader on the condition of anonymity.

Mufti had left for New Delhi from Jammu on Sunday afternoon.

Sources said Mehbooba-Shah meeting may see release of the verbal common minimum programme but will prepare ground for joint announcement, which will see PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed also showing up for media interaction in New Delhi.

The dates are yet to be finalised and ministries yet to be distributed.

"Things have been sorted out between the two parties from highest to the lowest level. Now, there are just two formal steps to be taken and the government will be in place," said BJP MLA Nirmal Singh.

Sources said differences on language on controversial issues have been narrowed down significantly in the CMP but few issues still need to be ironed out, said sources.

The two parties, PDP with 28 seats and BJP with 25 seats, have reached common ground on many governance issues to run Jammu and Kashmir.

The parleys come in the backdrop of hung assembly verdict on December 23 where PDP won maximum seats from Kashmir valley and BJP from Jammu region.

Sources said the parties have agreed on phased revocation of the Afspa from peaceful areas but not without getting “the army on board”. A verbal understanding has been reached, sources told HT, adding that the BJP was unwilling to give any written assurance.

The common minimum programme would maintain status quo on Article 370 that grants the border state special status.

The initial agreement also widens the scope of cross-LoC trade and travel, renegotiations of NHPC power projects and their handing over to the state, sources said. It reportedly extends certain concessions to the refugees from West Pakistan in terms of employment but the PDP remains non-committal on granting them citizenship.

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