Mehbooba-Shah Talks Breakdown
SRINAGAR: Talks over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir broke down on Friday with the PDP president Mehbooba Mufti returning to J&K after her meeting with the BJP chief Amit Shah failed to make any headway.
Informed sources said the BJP has not agreed to return the two key power projects, presently under the control of NHPC, to the state which was agreed in the “Agenda of the Alliance” drafted between the two parties last year.
In the first step towards government formation, the PDP president Mehbooba Mufti had met the BJP's national president, Amit Shah, in the national capital on Thursday.
The meeting came after nearly two months of political deadlock following the demise of the chief minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Mehbooba has been refusing to take over, despite having the backing of the Hindu rightwing party, demanding that New Delhi should announce certain JK specific measures both on the political and economical front.
However, the BJP’s national general secretary on Friday refused said the party will not accept any new demand from the PDP and it is “not possible” to form the government in J&K on conditions.
"We are not ready to accept any new demand. Whatever expectations are there would be possibly fulfilled only after formation of a government. It's not possible to form government on conditions," BJP general secreatary Ram Madhav told reporters in New Delhi.
Sources said the PDP president was scheduled to meet the Prime Minister Narendra Modi today in the national capital but the meeting was put off after the BJP refused to accept the PDP’s demands.
Mehbooba, who has been critical of the Hindu rightwing party for not doing enough to improve the political and financial health of J&K, is seeking return of two power projects from NHPC to J&K, inclusion of the state in the smart cities projects announced by Government of India last month, handing over of land by army to the state government not under their use and adequate compensation for flood victims for creating atmosphere for new government to take over.
The PDP is also concerned over the attempts of the Hindu rightwing party's proxy machinery to vitiate the political climate in Jammu and Kashmir, as it is doing across the country, which resulted in the murder of a young Kashmiri trucker in October last year, provoking anger against the government headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
The meeting of the PDP-BJP political heavyweights came on the day the J&K Governor NN Vohra kickstarted the process for wresting back of land under Army's occupation in different parts of the state, another key CBM demanded by the PDP president.
According to a government spokesperson, the Army Thursday agreed to vacate the Tatoo Ground, a 312-acre estate in the heart of Srinagar city occupied by forces for decades, by March 31 along with other three locations which will be used for civilian purposes.
Backed by New Delhi, Governor Vohra has take some pro-people decisions over the last two months including the increase in ration quota under National Food Security Act, dredging of Jhelum river while also speeding up the process of rehabilitation for the victims of the devastating flood in 2014.
Political analysts see these measures by Governor Vohra as the extension of olive branch by the Centre to reach out to its former ally, which had enabled the Hindu right wing to come to power for the first time in the Muslim majority Jammu and Kashmir.