Will form coalition govt with PDP in J-K soon, says BJP

  • Tarun Upadhyay and Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times, Jammu/Srinagar
  • Updated: Feb 20, 2015 22:48 IST

The BJP said on Friday it will “soon” form a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) with the PDP, signalling an end to the protracted negotiations that began in December after the state polls threw up a hung assembly.

Sources said an announcement is likely by early next week if the RSS does not raise any objections.

“Consensus and agreement has been reached on many issues and perceptions are being narrowed down,” said BJP MLA Nirmal Singh, who is tipped to be the next deputy chief minister. “The people have given a mandate for a BJP-PDP government and it will be in place soon.”

The parties are “drafting a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) that touches all controversial issues like the unique status granted to J&K under Article 370 and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that gives security officials special enforcement powers and protects them against civilian prosecution, say sources.

The BJP statement comes a day after Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, likely to be chief minister for the government’s entire term, told HT his party wanted a written assurance from the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) that it will not disturb the special status accorded to the state.

PDP with 28 MLAs and BJP with 25 in the 87-member assembly have been in talks for the past seven weeks, while the state remains under Governor’s Rule.

Sources said the two parties have reached a verbal understanding of withdrawing AFSPA in phases, “by getting the army on board” and will also not tinker with Article 370.

“No timeframe is likely to be set and initial announcements of partial withdrawal in areas like Kathua might be made after the government formation,” said a source. “But the key clause would be getting the army on board.”

Sayeed has said his party will not “sell out” on the issues concerning the state, a statement that drew flak from former chief minister and National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah.

“Dear Mufti Sahib, please don't say you won't ‘sell out’ because you’ve already done that by helping BJP in the Legislative Council elections,” he tweeted.

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