PDP-BJP TALKS ON THE ANVIL AGAIN
Back to the table for government formation (file picture)
SRINAGAR: The BJP's national general secretary, Ram Madhav, will hold talks with the Peoples Democratic Party president, Mehbooba Mufti over government formation next week, ending over a month of political uncertainty in Jammu and Kashmir.
The BJP’s national president, Amit Shah, has authorised Madhav, who played a key role in forming the PDP-BJP alliance last year, to fly to Srinagar next week and hold talks with Mehbooba, according to reports in Delhi-based media.
Sources said Madhav may also attend the 40th day of mourning of the late PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed which falls on February 16 and marks the end of ritual mourning period among the Muslims.
The PDP leaders are, however, unaware about the development, "I don't know if anyone from the BJP is coming for talks. There has been no communication so far," a senior PDP leader said.
Sources said the Hindu right-wing party, which came to power for the first time in J&K last year after Sayeed, ignoring the popular sentiment in the Valley, entered into an alliance with the party, wants the political stalemate to end before the budget session of the parliament which commences on February 23.
“We want the alliance to continue. This is a historic opportunity for the two parties to work for the development of Jammu and Kashmir. From our side, we are ready to walk an extra mile to make it happen,” a BJP leader, who didn’t want to be named, said.
Sources said the BJP leadership is worried about the political fallout of the alliance breaking apart which may not reflect well on the party in the upcoming budget session. A BJP source said the Centre may announce some JK-specific measures in the union budget for which Madhav has been asked to keep the PDP leadership in loop.
The PDP has already dropped hints that it will like to continue the “unpopular” alliance with the Hindu right-wing party. Mehbooba, who was tipped to succeed her father as the state's first woman chief minister delayed her coronation, demanding that the BJP-led Centre must announce Confidence Building Measures for the state.
According to PDP sources, the Centre should withdraw the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act from those districts of the state which have remained peaceful over the years, return the power projects controlled by the NHPC in J&K and provide liberal financial assistance to the state where development has suffered immensely over the last two and half decades of political turmoil.
The coming two weeks are going to be immensely crucial for the two parties and if all goes well, an elected government may assume office by the end of this month.
Meanwhile, J&K Governor NN Vohra also met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi and "discussed the way forward in the state". Sources said Vohra briefed the home minister about the political situation in Jammu and Kashmir, his meetings with various stakeholders in the state, "They also discussed about the way forward for Jammu and Kashmir," sources said.