Two parties ruling the sensitive state of Jammu and Kashmir – PDP and BJP – have dismissed the speculations of any differences over the issue of late Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s successor. While, PDP has backed their party chief and Mufti Sayeed’s daughter Mehbooba Mufti, its ally BJP is expected to formally convey its support soon. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed passed away on Thursday, leaving the coalition government in fragile balance.
Government ally BJP, which has 25 MLAs in the 87-member house, has deferred discussions on the succession issue till the four-day mourning period.
“There is no hurry on this issue. We will definitely be meeting after tomorrow’s ceremony for Mufti Sahib and take a decision,” BJP state president Sat Paul Sharma told the news agency on Saturday.
“There are certainly no conditions from our side and there was no meeting of our leaders on government formation,” Sharma added further confirming that he had received a letter from the Governor on government formation but the party will take a decision on it only after Sayeed’s fourth day ceremony is observed tomorrow.
Calling the BJP’s coalition with the PDP as “historic”, the state party chief said the government is “interested in peace and development in the state and we want this coalition to continue on this path shown by Mufti Mohammd Sayeed.
Earlier on Friday, BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav held a meeting with party MLAs. Before the closed-door meeting with BJP legislators, Madhav while speaking to the press pack refused to divulge any details.
“I went to meet Mehbooba to express my condolences on the demise of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. We had some discussions over the future of the government but I will not be able to share more details about these deliberations right now,” he said.
On its part, the PDP too dismissed the speculations about any conditions set by either this party or the BJP for forming the new government
“We are not in any condition to discuss government formation at this moment so how can there be any talk of conditions,” senior PDP leader and former Education Minister Naeem Akhtar said adding that the party leadership including the president will discuss and decide on government formation at an “appropriate time”.
Earlier, Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra had asked PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and state BJP chief to make their position clear on the issue. According to the ruling party, Mehbooba Mufti was reluctant to be sworn-in at least till the fourth day of the mourning as the state was in mourning.
“Besides being in touch with the leadership of the coalition government partners, Governor NN Vohra has also addressed letters by fax to Mehbooba Mufti, President PDP and Sat Pal Sharma, President BJP, to urgently inform him about their respective positions regarding formation of the new Government,” Rajbhawan spokesman said.
Meanwhile, opposition party National Conference leader and former CM Omar Abdullah questioned the BJP stand on government formation saying the PDP president should be allowed to grieve her father’s death.
“Why is BJP forcing this uncertainty on the state? Mehbooba, understandably, needs time to grieve but these guys?” Omar wrote on the micro-blogging site Twitter.
(With inputs from the PTI)