After nearly two months of talks on formulating a common minimum programme of governance, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Peoples Democratic Party on Tuesday announced their alliance for forming a “popular’’ government in Jammu and Kashmir. This is the first time that the BJP will participate in governance in the border State.
The first formal announcement of the alliance came after a 45-minute meeting here between BJP president Amit Shah and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti at the former’s residence. “Fortunately we have reached an understanding,’’ Ms. Mufti said while Mr. Shah expressed happiness that the “hurdles’’ were over. The BJP has had to neutralise pressure from the RSS against the deal.
Neither revealed the terms of agreement on contentious issues such as Article 370 that grants special status to J&K and withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act among others.
It was said that the contours of the CMP would be disclosed after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and PDP Chief Mufti Mohammad Sayeed which is likely on Wednesday. Mr. Sayeed is slated to be the Chief Minister while the BJP is set to get the Deputy Chief Minister’s post.
Saying that the two parties — known to hold extreme positions — had found a “middle path’’, Ms. Mufti said that the government that will be formed will not be just about “power sharing’’ but about “winning hearts and minds of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the entire country.’’
She claimed that the coming together of the BJP and PDP would be different from previous alliances since 1947 between the state and central leadership in that for the first time the interest of the people of J&K and national interest had been kept centre stage.
“The agenda for alliance has kept in mind the priorities, aspirations, development, prosperity and peace of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and is committed to providing a clean, non-corrupt government in the State.’’
This is an opportunity, she said, to bridge the gap with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Ms. Mufti was accompanied by Muzzafar Ali Baig while Mr. Shah had party general secretary Ram Madhav, a key negotiator, by his side. The leaders did not take any questions from journalists.