The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called a meeting of its legislature party on Monday to take a call on its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) amid the ongoing uncertainty over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.
The party’s MLAs will also elect their new legislature party leader.
PDP sources said the delay in government formation has caused some disquiet among a section of the party. A PDP leader said a majority of the legislators don’t want fresh elections at this juncture and have been pushing for an early end to the two-month-long deadlock.
One group of MLAs has apparently formed a “pressure group” to persuade party chief Mehbooba Mufti to continue the alliance with the BJP, arguing that such a move will be in consonance with the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s line of thinking and also in the overall interest of the state.
This group of seven MLAs has reportedly met a few times in the past to chalk out its strategy. A former minister, close to some central BJP leaders, is said to be behind this initiative.
However, another section wants the PDP leadership to explore other options, including a tie-up with the Congress, on the ground that the alliance with the BJP had not gone down well with the people which reflected in the thin attendance at the late Sayeed’s funeral.
It is the opposition by this group that has prompted a rethink in Mehbooba’s strategy vis-à-vis alliance with the BJP, resulting in a delay in government formation.
Governor’s rule was imposed in the state on January 8, a day after the death of chief minister Sayeed. Since then, both the PDP and the BJP have been negotiating new terms of engagement.
For her part, Mehbooba has so far denied any differences with the BJP but sought J-K-specific CBMs from the Centre to create an atmosphere congenial for the formation of a new coalition government in the state.
The BJP has maintained that the two parties are bound by the agenda of alliance which is a “sacred” document and that the party is committed to implementing it in letter and spirit.
The PDP has been upset with the Narendra Modi government for a delay in initiating steps for withdrawal of AFSPA from certain parts of the state, and also in returning NHPC power projects. Its leaders had also dubbed Prime Minister Modi’s Rs 80,000 crore financial package as an “eyewash and mere jugglery of figures”.