Madhav may meet Mehbooba on J&K govt formation

RSTV Bureau
Photo – PTI

Photo – PTI

In a bid to ease speculations over the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav is likely to hold talks with PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti in the coming week. PDP and BJP ran an over 10-month coalition government, which was marred with fragility, before the demise of sitting Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7, 2016.

The state has since been under the Governor’s rule with PDP yet to commit on the alliance. On her part, Mehbooba said last week that her party will not come forward to form the government unless the BJP-led government at the Centre addresses their concerns.

According to the latest reports, Ram Madhav, key party person who played a crucial role in bringing the two ideologically disparate parties together, may attempt to break an impasse over the suspense on the fate of ‘historic alliance’.

PDP is seeking major ‘concessions’ on the Kashmir-centric political agenda of the BJP, including relaxation in controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act, a demand which the latter has rejected in the past.

Last week, hardening her stance, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti had sought the Narendra Modi at the Centre to create a “conducive atmosphere” by committing confidence building measures (CBMs) for the state.

“There are problems within problems. To face these difficulties, we need to have support and to have that conducive atmosphere (for forming government). If we get that, it is fine but if that does not happen, we will continue to move as we are moving today,” she told her party leaders at their meeting last week in Srinagar.

“It is not the matter of money. How much money has come and how much we have spent? When and how it came?” she added claiming that financial assistance to the state from the Centre may not be the only priority.

The regional party, with its stronghold in the valley also apprehends that its alliance with BJP may have cost it some popular support and it can recover the lost ground only by pushing its core agenda.

PDP, with 27 MLAs in the 87-member Assembly and BJP with 25 legislators, ran a coalition government headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for 10 months before his death.

Meanwhile, another major player J&K National Conference has demanded that both PDP and BJP break their silence on the uncertainty surrounding the government formation. At the same time the top leadership of NC has claimed that it is not ready to support BJP in case the PDP-BJP alliance snaps.

“Mehbooba Mufti has been quiet for long and she can no longer remain silent. She must clarify her stand on two-three issues and clear the air as to what are those CBMs and how long she will wait for those Confidence Building Measures and why did the need of CBMs suddenly arise after the demise of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed,” NC chief Omar Abdullah told the press.