PDP Top Advisors, Both Ex-JNU, Negotiate with BJP for Govt Revival in State
NEW DELHI: Currently the two top non-political advisors to Peoples Democratic Party leader, Mehbooba Mufti are camping in Delhi, meeting BJP top brass to break the deadlock, and form the government in Jammu and Kashmir that has been under Governors rule for two months now.
The two are Haseeb Drabu and Amitabh Mattoo, both brought in by late CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, and both from Jawaharlal Nehru University that the BJP, in its initial responses to the current face off with the students and faculty, dubbed as a den of anti-nationals. Mattoo also taught in JNU, and is well regarded in the campus. Both have been negotiating frenetically with the BJP, to ensure that the PDP-BJP alliance continues, and the government is revived in the state.
Despite these efforts the freeze between the two allies is showing no signs of a thaw, although both sides remain optimistic.
Although the two parties have been publicly stating that the talks are going on to end the political uncertainty in J&K, which slipped under Governor's rule on January 8, a day after Sayeed's demise, there is no indication of the elected government assuming office anytime soon.
The PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti, has put the ball in the BJP's court by demanding that the Centre should announce JK-specific confidence building measures, including the return of NHPC-owned power projects to the state, withdrawal of armed forces from residential areas and revocation of the draconian AFSPA, besides others.
However, the ruling party has so far remained non-committal to any of the PDP's demands, fuelling speculations that the Governor's rule may prolong and the state may have to undergo midterm polls, a possibility which will dampen the prospects of both parties, according to political observers.
The BJP's state president, Sat Sharma, told The Citizen that there will be a breakthrough on government formation in the first week of March, "We are in favour of continuing the alliance. Our party high-command has met some PDP leaders and you will soon see a breakthrough in the first week of March," he said.
Amid deepening political crisis, two PDP leaders - Haseeb Drabu, who played a crucial role in drafting the 'Agenda of the Alliance' with the BJP last year, and Amitabh Mattoo, who was advisor to late Sayeed, have been camping in the national capital and meeting senior BJP leaders to break the deadlock.
PDP sources told The Citizen that Drabu has met the BJP president Amit Shah, union finance minister Arun Jaitley and other senior party functionaries, besides some senior bureaucrats in connection with the government formation.
"We are hoping that the Centre will announce some JK-specific measures in the union budget. Mehbooba ji haS already made our position on government formation clear. We are also in favour of continuing the alliance but not at the cost of our party," a senior PDP leader, who didn't wish to be named, said.
The party's fortunes have sunk in Kashmir Valley after, going against the public opinion, the PDP entered into the "unholy" alliance with the BJP in March last year. After the demise of Sayeed, the party has accused the BJP of "backtracking" on some key issues in alliance agenda.
Earlier, the BJP's general secretary and RSS man, Ram Madhav, met the PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti, in Srinagar. The meeting was seen as the beginning of formal talks between the two parties to remove the clouds of political uncertainty in J&K.