Suspense over government formation continued in Jammu and Kashmir as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and alliance partner BJP passed the buck on each other to end the political stalemate.
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti met Jammu-based party leaders on Wednesday, a day after arriving from Srinagar for the first time since the demise of her father, chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, on January 7 while state BJP leaders too held an internal meeting.
Mehbooba visited Jammu region’s party headquarters at Gandhi Nagar and met party leaders for two-and-a-half hours. PDP spokesman Firdos Tak said the BJP will need to respond to issues raised by her before any steps could be taken forming a government.
“Mehboobaji has catagorically stated that some CMBs (confidence-building measures) need to taken by the Centre. BJP has sought time. It is they who will have to explain,” he said. “Both coalition partners have to sit and decide.”
State BJP leaders met after they asked governor NN Vohra for 10 days to respond to “whatever is outstanding” with the PDP. The governor had invited both PDP and BJP leaders to the Raj Bhavan in Jammu on Tuesday evening for separate talks to clarify their stands.
The outcome of the BJP’s meeting on Wednesday, where state party chief Sat Pal Sharma as well as Nirmal Singh, who was deputy chief minister in the Sayeed government, were present, was not known but spokesman Sunil Sethi said his party will work towards “implementation of the agenda of alliance … but can’t commit on anything beyond that”.
Nirmal Singh has earlier said the BJP will take steps only after the PDP elects its legislature party leader and notifies the governor about it.
However, Mehbooba has remained non-committal and insisted on the Centre taking “tangible” confidence-building measures. She didn’t explain what she meant by confidence-building measures despite repeated queries from reporters after her meeting with Vohra.
“Mehboobaji has said what she had to ... so we are waiting for the BJP to respond,” senior PDP leader Nayeem Akhtar said.
(With inputs from agencies)