Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti prolonged the Jammu and Kashmir stalemate, seeking on Tuesday confidence-building measures from the BJP-led Centre and assurances on time-bound implementation of the agenda of alliance to form a government.
She maintained the suspense over government formation after meeting governor NN Vohra, who had invited her and BJP leaders to Raj Bhavan on Tuesday evening for separate talks to clarify their stands.
For its part, the BJP declared it was in favour of the alliance but sought 10 more days from the governor to spell out its position.
“But the PDP should first elect its leader (of its legislature party) and inform the governor. We will respond after that,” said BJP leader Nirmal Singh who was part of the party’s three-member delegation that called on the governor.
Talking to reporters after meeting Vohra, the PDP chief said her father, the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, had aligned with Prime Minister Narendra Modi without bothering about his “political career” but with the hope that the Centre would see the state through its difficult situation.
“I don’t have the goodwill, experience and also the vision of Mufti Sahab. He used to say he hasn’t joined hands with PM Narendra Modi but with crores of the people who have voted for him ... without thinking about electoral politics and the party,” Mehbooba said.
“If we have to keep forward that vision and alliance, the government of India should announce some measures to give fillip to a new government to counter many forces. The government of India should stand by us.”
The state has been under governor’s rule after chief minister Sayeed died in a New Delhi hospital on January 7. The governor had invited Mehbooba and the BJP leaders as part of efforts to end the political uncertainty since Sayeed’s death.
“Many people were sceptical about this alliance and even BJP leaders were not happy with it. Mufti Sahab faced many problems but had a vision and commitment, which are sacred for me. But the state, which is different from others, needs a good atmosphere, space and a fillip to peace and development if a new government is to be formed,” she said.
Mehbooba called for time-bound implementation of the agenda of alliance and assurances on niggling issues such as a political initiative to facilitate dialogues with separatists and withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act that gives sweeping powers to security forces to arrest and kill during counter-insurgency operations.
The BJP delegation, that comprised Singh, state unit president Sat Sharma, and parliamentarian Jugal Kishore, said it was not aware of new confidence-building measures.
“Everything is there in the agenda of alliance and none of us (BJP and PDP) had talked about moving out of it,” said Singh, who was deputy chief minister in the Sayeed government.
He called on the PDP president at the state circuit house in Jammu in the afternoon and briefed her about his meeting with BJP president Amit Shah in New Delhi on Monday night.
“This is the first time after Mufti Sahab’s demise that Mehboobaji has come to Jammu. She has stayed in the guesthouse. This was just a courtesy call. She is our coalition partner,” he said.