Hopes of J-K govt formation rise as Mehbooba Mufti lands in Delhi

  • HT correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 21, 2016 22:57 IST
Hopes of government formation in J-K renewed after Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti (right) arrived in New Delhi. (ANI Photo)

Hopes of government formation in Jammu and Kashmir renewed on Monday after Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti arrived in the Capital, where she is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.

She returned to Delhi within 48 hours following a reopening of channels of communication with the BJP to break the deadlock in her state, which is under governor’s rule since chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s death on January 7, a source said.

A PDP leader said negotiations restarted after a senior government functionary assured Mehbooba that the BJP was committed to fulfilling the agenda of alliance that the party had with Sayeed last March to form a coalition government after a fractured poll verdict.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley’s remarks on Sunday that the BJP is committed to the agenda have been positively viewed by the PDP leadership, said the leader.

The 56-year-old Mehbooba, tipped to take over the reins after Sayeed, returned to Srinagar on Saturday after meeting BJP president Amit Shah amid reports that the talks had failed.

Speculation of the BJP hardening its stand swirled as the party’s national general secretary, Ram Madhav, said no conditions from the PDP will be accepted before a new government is formed.

Later, hints emerged that the BJP could agree to announce an economic package for the state to break the deadlock, sources said.

The PDP chief called a meeting of the legislature party on March 24 to elect a new leader, which is viewed as a step towards government formation.

But her rival and National Conference working president, Omar Abdullah, said she rushed to Delhi to avert a split in her party. “There is an effort to try and gather support independent of Mehbooba Mufti. I think she has rushed to Delhi in her last-ditch effort to save her party,” he said in Jammu.

The delay and uncertainty over government formation have made a faction of PDP legislators unhappy, a source said in Srinagar. “Mehbooba met some senior party leaders over rumours that a faction from the PDP was in deliberation with the BJP to form a government.”

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

Mehbooba remained reluctant, apparently upset that her father died “a sad man”, regretting the unfulfilled promises made by the Centre. She wants the BJP to announce confidence-building measures and firm assurances from the NDA government on transfer of central power projects to the state and time-bound implementation of the agenda for alliance.

But the PDP camp maintained that there had been some misunderstanding because it never put forth new conditions to the BJP.

(With inputs from agencies)

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