SRINAGAR: Putting speculations of differences with the BJP over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir at rest, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the chief minister’s official residence at Jammu was vacated to "maintain the highest standards of dignified political conduct" practiced by the party's founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
“Following Mufti Sahab’s demise, the family took his personal belongings out and vacated the CM’s designated official residence. There is no politics involved in the issue,” senior PDP leader, Naeem Akhtar said in a statement issued last evening.
Muftis vacated the CM's residence at Wazarat Road in Jammu on Wednesday with Sayeed’s widow, Begum Gulshan, visiting the three-storey residence for taking family belongings back to Kashmir.
Sayeed died at AIIMS on January 7, slipping the state under Governor's rule for second time in less than a year.
Naeem said Sayeed maintained "highest standards of dignified political conduct" during his lifetime and his family is carrying forward his legacy, “This is why the Chief Minister’s designated official residence was immediately vacated by them following the demise of Mufti sahib,” he said.
According to protocol, the family of Sayeed could have retained the official residence for a month after his demise. However, the "untimely" vacation on Wednesday fuelled speculations in the state that the two parties may not form the government very soon.
“The chief minister’s family was entitled to hold the house for a month. The family could have stayed back at the CM residence at least up to February 7,” Director Estates, Ghulam Nabi Itoo said.
Although the PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has been backed by the Hindu right-wing party for the chief minister's post, the party is visibly upset about the BJP's backtracking on issues agreed in the "Agenda of the Alliance" between the two parties, including returning of the NHPC-owned power projects and protecting the special status of the state.
According to reports on Friday, the two parties are in touch with each other and the BJP's national general secretary, Ram Madhav, who played a key role in stitching the alliance last year, reportedly kept in loop by the middle-rung PDP leadership about the issues hampering the continuation of the alliance.
Sources in the PDP said the party has conveyed its grievances to the Centre on "timely implementation" of the alliance agenda while "no fresh demands" have been made. "The ball is in the Centre's court. No fresh demands have been made by PDP. We only want assurances on fulfilling the vision of Mufti saheb," a PDP leader said.