With Jammu and Kashmir frozen in political stalemate, the ongoing unofficial talks between the Bharatiya Janata Party and Peoples Democratic Party is likely to pave way for formal talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.
“All I can say is that everything is in the public domain now. Achieving a common ground (with the BJP) remains a challenge,” PDP spokesman Naeem Akhtar told Hindustan Times.
The unofficial talks between both parties has laid ground for the Modi-Mufti talks, likely to take place once they settle on common ground regarding contentious issues such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Article 370 and the peace process between India and Pakistan.
“All our top leaders are in Srinagar. Mufti...Let’s wait and see how things unfold and shape up,” said Akhtar, adding, “All options including a grand alliance and cobbling up a coalition with Congress is on the table.”
The PDP, a senior party leader said, has decided not to engage in any top level dialogue unless the BJP is open to deliberations on issues concerning the party. Both parties failed to secure a majority in the 87-member assembly with the PDP winning 28 and the BJP 25 seats.
The PDP inter-party deliberations picked up pace on Sunday to avoid rebellion within the party ranks over the alliance with the BJP. Many leaders, including PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, are seeking “a cautious route towards government formation”.
“It is a tough task, but the party is debating issues thoroughly,” said Akhtar.
The opinions and suggestions of newly-elected PDP legislators were sought to incorporate them into the “agenda for alliance” with the BJP.
Both the BJP and the PDP have been called by the governor to seek feedback from them over government formation next week.