Jammu and Kashmir likely to get BJP-PDP coalition govt soon

Jammu and Kashmir is likely to have a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and PDP coalition government soon as the two parties…

Jammu and Kashmir is likely to have a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and PDP coalition government soon as the two parties are believed to have firmed up a “carefully drafted” Common Minimum Programme (CMP) touching all controversial issues like Article 370 and AFSPA.

BJP said its talks with PDP are proceeding on “positive lines” and things are “narrowing down” on crucial issues.

“We hope a government will be in place soon,” senior state BJP leader Nirmal Singh, whose name is doing rounds for Deputy Chief Ministership, told PTI here.

Singh, who spoke after a meeting state party leaders held with BJP general secretaries Ram Madhav and Ram Lal, said, “We held discussions on government formation (in J&K) and talks held with PDP. Further talks with PDP are on and they are on positive lines. Things are narrowing down on crucial issues.”

PDP Chief Spokesman Naeem Akhtar was asked whether the deal between his party and BJP has been sealed, he said “when it is done, it will be declared”.

Sources said the announcement of government formation is expected over the weekend or by early next week unless RSS does not create further hurdles for BJP.

PDP with 28 MLAs and BJP with 25 MLAs in the 87-member Assembly have been in talks ever since the election results on December 23 last gave a fractured verdict. The state is under Governor’s Rule for over a month.

According to sources privy to the developments, the two sides have possibly agreed on formation of a Committee which will go into the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and suggest areas from where it could be revoked.

On Article 370, while BJP has given no written assurance as demanded by the PDP, the CMP is expected to say that both parties will respect the aspirations of the people of the state within the Constitution.

The proposed CMP may also touch upon the issue of more than 25,000 families of West Pakistan Refugees by saying that it was a humanitarian issue which should be addressed in a humanitarian way.

According to the sources, the portfolios have also been finalised with the PDP walking away with Home and Finance while BJP managing with Tourism and Water Resources, Public Health Engineering and Planning.

Sources said BJP’s top brass apprised party leaders from the state about the current status of talks with regard to government formation and the stand taken on crucial issues like AFSPA and Article 370.

The party leaders discussed BJP’s ideological position on these issues and ways to keep such controversial issues on back burner so that the governance is not affected.

Besides Nirmal Singh, others who attended the meeting were BJP state unit Chief and Lok sabha MP Jugal Kishore, party MLAs Kavinder Gupta and Bali Bhagat, Organisation Secretary Ashok Kaul and newly elected Rajya Sabha MP Shamsher Singh.

The other two Lok Sabha MPs — Jitendra Singh and Thupstan Chhewang — and senior leader Ashok Khajuria were not present at the meeting.

BJP President Amit Shah also met some top BJP leaders at his residence from the state to evolve the strategy and finalise the government formation plans.

Shah had yesterday met top RSS leaders and briefed them about the parleys being held by the BJP with PDP on government formation in the state.

Nirmal Singh said, “We also discussed the party’s strategy for the upcoming Legislative Council elections.”

After a bitter defeat in the Delhi Assembly elections, central BJP leadership is treading a cautious approach and is hearing out the state unit views and briefing them as well about the talks being held with PDP.

PDP patron Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, who is expected to be the Chief Minister for the entire six-year term, has been maintaining that his party will not be going for any “sell out” on the issues concerning the state.

Mufti’s statement drew a flak from former state Chief Minister and working President of National Conference Omar Abdullah who accused him of already indulging in a “sell out” by siding with BJP in the recently-held elections for Rajya Sabha and upcoming polls for the Legislative Council.

Omar tweeted “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.”

“You (Sayeed) already ‘sold out’ by demanding Art 370 status quo when you had sold ‘Self Rule’ to people in J and K, please stop playing the martyr.”

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First published on: 20-02-2015 at 21:02 IST