Prospects of a government formation in Jammu & Kashmir are looking up, with the PDP viewing finance minister Arun Jaitley’s statement on Monday, of ‘walking the extra-mile,’ as a positive step.
The finance minister said in parliament that the Centre was ready to go the extra mile for equitable development of three regions - Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh - of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The statement of the union finance minister is a positive development. It does address the sensitivities of the people of the state to an extent,” said PDP chief spokesperson Nayeem Akhtar. He declined to comment whether government formation was on the cards.
“The PDP has been asking for assurances from the Central government. Arun Jaitley’s statement on the floor of the parliament is an important development in that direction. There are many positive signals and government formation can take place soon,” said former deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh.
Nirmal Singh, along with BJP state unit president Sat Sharma and other senior leaders, are going to New Delhi on Saturday to attend the two-day national executive meeting of the party starting March 19. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti is already in the national capital.
Sharma said government formation in the state is likely to be discussed at the meeting. “The process and dialogue for government formation is going on in Delhi. We are hopeful of forming the government very soon,” he added.
The finance minister in his reply on Monday said the government is committed to setting up IIT, IIM and AIIMS in the state but did not touch upon contentious issues like the return of two power projects to the state, steps for revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and initiating dialogue with the separatists. These issues are part of the agenda-of-alliance.
A senior BJP leader said these issues could be discussed once Mehbooba Mufti took over as Chief Minister.
“Mehbooba can discuss these issues with the Centre as a chief minister and not as a president of a political party (PDP). You can bargain more as CM. So, she has to first assume the chair,” said a senior BJP leader, wishing not to be named.
The Governor had on Tuesday cancelled the meeting of the State Administrative Council (SAC) at the last minute, to approve the budget for the state. Sources said the officers were told only on Monday morning that the meeting would not happen since the Governor was unwell.