The People's Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed has said any upcoming formal talks will revolve around the party's alliance agenda shared with the BJP before making any headway on a common minimum programme to run a coalition government in the state.
Speaking exclusively to Hindustan Times, for the first time ever since results were declared on December 23, Sayeed said he yearns for "a stable and successful government in the state". "We will stick to our agenda put forth for any alliance in the state," he said.
The four-point alliance agenda includes resumption of dialogue with Pakistan to take forward the peace process, talks with separatists, revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and safeguards for state subjects laws and Article 370, which gives special powers to the state.
"We are for peace through reconciliation and dialogue. We hope any new dispensation works towards that," said PDP spokesman Naeem Akhtar, the only party leader assigned to state the party position.
A government remains elusive in Jammu and Kashmir after assembly results threw a fractured mandate, with PDP winning 28 and BJP 25 seats in the 87-member assembly. Any party requires 44 members to form a government and J&K is staring at a coalition once again.
Akhtar sounded positive on Sunday about initiation of formal dialogue with the BJP to work out a coalition. "We are hopeful for a breakthrough this week," said Akhtar, without divulging details on who the party will select to negotiate with the BJP. "I don't think venue is an issue," he added.
BJP's point man and party general secretary Ram Madhav is likely to start a structured dialogue with the PDP to iron out differences to form a government before the state slips into governor's rule on January 19. Sources said the back channels have succeeded to move forward positively towards a coalition government.
The BJP has sought more time from the governor and the PDP has claimed to have support of 55 members right now without revealing the parties.
Meanwhile, Akhtar confirmed that informal talks are on at "various levels with the BJP".
On ongoing border skirmishes between India and Pakistan, Akhtar said: "Such incidents underlines the urgency and need to sit down and have dialogue with Pakistan to bring an end to the hostilities, which have made people of the state to pay a very heavy price for the past two decades".