"Come Clean On Talks Mehbooba": NC,Congress
SRINAGAR: The mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have flayed the Peoples Democratic Party, asking the party president, Mehbooba Mufti, to "come clean" on her talks with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A day after the PDP president described her meeting with PM Modi as "positive", signalling the end of political deadlock in Jammu and Kashmir, the National Conference said the Prime Minister's Office should come clean on the demands made by Mehbooba “as a pre-requisite for government formation” in the state.
“PDP is answerable to the people of the state to justify its imminent surrender. The state was pushed into a phase of political uncertainty and chaos as PDP not only refused to form the government with its alliance partner but also refused to divulge what demands if any it had asked of the central government,” NC General Secretary, Ali Mohammad Sagar, said.
The NC's working president and former CM Omar Abdullah doubted the possibility of revival of the alliance, saying "picture abhi baki hai dost". "It's becoming increasingly clear that in the choice between principles and power, Mehbooba has opted for power," he tweeted.
"It’s not enough for her to come out from meeting the Prime Minister and say she is satisfied. Her satisfaction is immaterial if she left empty handed," he said in another tweet.
The NC General Secretary said the PDP president has publicly stated that she won’t be able to form the government until the Centre takes “confidence building initiatives” in the state.
“Today, the PDP is set to form the government with the BJP without any visible confidence building measures having been demanded or announced publicly. What was the reason for the two and a half month delay then?” Sagar said.
The Congress also hit out at PDP, calling the delay in government formation in J-K an attempt to "test waters" in the Valley. The J&K Congress chief, GA Mir, asked Mehbooba to clarify what "new" confidence building measures (CBM) have been agreed upon between PDP and BJP.
"It was all a drama enacted by PDP over the issue of confidence building measures as a condition before BJP, to be taken ahead of government formation. It was aimed to test waters in Kashmir Valley where they have lost their ground," Mir said.
Meanwhile, terming Mehbooba’s meeting with the Prime Minister as “very positive”, the Peoples Democratic Party said the "future course of action" on government formation will be decided at the legislature party meeting on March 24. A PDP spokesperson said the meeting will be held at the Gupkar residence of the PDP president.
“Following the sad demise of our leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the PDP had authorized the party president, Ms Mehbooba Mufti to take a call on the party’s future course of action vis-à-vis government formation and her meeting with the Prime Minister today and with BJP President, Mr Amit Shah earlier was a part of the same process,” PDP chief spokesperson, Dr Mehboob Beg said in a statement.
He said the PDP president would brief the legislature party about her deliberations with the Prime Minister. “The party would announce its future course of action and the next step after its legislature party meeting which is the proper forum to take a call on such issues,” he said.
Sources said the PDP legislators may also elect senior PDP leader, AR Veeri, as leader of the party who will then nominate Mehbooba to take charge of the political affairs with the BJP, paving way for government formation. As next step in the process, the PDP chief will meet Governor NN Vohra and stake claim for government formation in J&K.
The rightwing party will hold "final round of negotiations" with the PDP after the later holds the legislature party meeting. BJP's point man on Kashmir, Ram Madhav, said the meeting between Modi and Mehbooba was a formal step towards government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Prime Minister told her that the party (BJP) was the appropriate forum for engagement on government formation. We will hold final round of negotiations once the PDP is done with the legislature party meeting,” he said.
(File photograph: PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti with BJP President Amit Shah)