The first signs of efforts to end the nine-day impasse on government formation in Jammu and Kashmir emerged on Saturday with PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti calling a meeting of her party’s “extended core group” in Srinagar on Sunday, expectedly to discuss the future course of action and ties with ally BJP.
This will be the first formal party meeting to be chaired by Mehbooba who has been playing the guessing game over the government formation ever since the sudden death of her father and then chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7.
“The PDP president has convened a meeting of the extended core group of the party tomorrow at her residence in the afternoon,” a senior PDP leader told PTI. He said those invited to the meeting include the party MPs, former ministers, and the senior party office bearers.
The state has been under President’s rule since January 9 as neither PDP nor BJP staked claimed for forming government. The meeting has been called against the backdrop of reports that Mehbooba is unhappy over a variety of issues with BJP, a party with which Mufti ran a coalition government for 10 months after tying up in the wake of a hung verdict in assembly elections.
The issues believed to be nagging the PDP leadership range from Sayeed not being given proper respect when he passed away in Delhi on January 7 to meagre flow of funds from the Centre to the state.
In the 87-member assembly, PDP has 27 MLAs while BJP has 25 legislators. Three days back, the PDP said it would be reviewing the progress made on implementing the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ between the two parties and Mufti’s ‘vision’ before embarking on fresh government formation in the state.
Against this background, Union finance secretary RP Watal came to Srinagar on Thursday and met Mehbooba Mufti. Though PDP said Watal had met Mehbooba just to express his condolences, the key official of the central government is believed to have explained to her about what has been done by the Modi government and what is in store for the state.
BJP has maintained that the PDP has to make the first move by electing its legislature party leader before they can extend support to the regional party for government formation in the state.