Nearly a month after governor’s rule was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir following the death of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, signs of a thaw are emerging between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the BJP with both parties ready to climb down from their hardened positions.
Though formal negotiations between the two sides are yet to begin, PDP sources told HT that back-channel talks are on at various levels, brightening the chances of a new government in coalition with the BJP taking oath by the end of the month.
The PDP side hopes some of the confidence-building measures (CBMs) demanded by party chief Mehbooba Mufti will be announced in the Union budget to be presented by finance minister Arun Jaitley on February 29.
The first serious attempt to renew ties will be made when BJP general secretary Ram Madhav holds talks with Mehbooba next week.
Mehbooba had earlier denied any differences with the BJP but sought state-specific CBMs from the Centre to create an atmosphere congenial for the formation of a new coalition government in the state.
The BJP had maintained that the two parties were bound by the agenda of alliance which was a “sacred” document and that the party was committed to implementing it.
The PDP has been upset with the Modi government for the delay in initiating steps for withdrawal of the Afspa from certain parts of the state, and also in returning NHPC power projects. Its leaders had also dubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Rs 80,000 crore financial package as an “eyewash and mere jugglery of figures”.
A section in the PDP is of the view that the BJP-led central government has been “indirectly” ruling the state through the governor since January 9 and there was no point in delaying the decision.
For her part, Mehbooba is not wary of going to the polls even at this juncture and has told her colleagues that she is ready to sit in the opposition rather than go against the public sentiment if the BJP does not agree to her terms.