PM, Mehbooba talk, J&K govt. likely soon

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti at a meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.  

Efforts at government formation in Jammu and Kashmir seemed to have gained critical mass on Tuesday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti, a mere three days after a previously scheduled meeting between the two was called off.

“We were seeing a stalemate for the last two to three months over government formation, but today I am satisfied. I am very satisfied,” Ms. Mufti said after the 15-minute meeting. “When you meet the Prime Minister of the country, naturally the solution to the problems faced by the people of Jammu and Kashmir is clearer,” she said.

Asked about government formation, she said: “As I said, I will talk to my MLAs because that is the forum. This is not the place. There is a particular place to make such announcements. I will go back to Srinagar and take the next step.”

Ms. Mufti said she called a meeting of the PDP Legislature Party for March 24.

Her visit to Delhi on Monday afternoon was sudden and was preceded by a hardening in the BJP’s stand.

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, at the centre of government formation efforts, had made it clear that the Agenda of the Alliance would be the only point of reference for government formation.

According to sources in the BJP, that is exactly what has been promised. “Most of the issues had already been sorted out, on the power projects in Uri and Dulhasti, and the vacating of land by the Army at Tattoo ground in Srinagar and near the Jammu airport,” said a source. When attempts in the last two months did not bring things to a tipping point, the BJP even opened channels to at least one senior MLA and a Member of Parliament of the PDP to build pressure from within the party in favour of restoration of government. “Local bodies polls have been announced in J&K for May, and MLAs and other leaders saw no point in delaying government formation,” said a source in the BJP.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley played his part in assuring the PDP that promises made to the State under the Agenda of Alliance would be kept.

In Srinagar, while Opposition parties criticised what they termed Ms. Mufti’s intransigence, PDP leader and former Minister Nayeem Akhtar said: “Tuesday’s meeting was a culmination of a process and genuine polity. There were tangible moves on the ground, which we don’t want to brag about. The real ice-breaker was assurances made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley on implementation of the Agenda of the Alliance. We were always committed to the Agenda and wanted the BJP to stick to its earlier promises.”

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2020 11:48:09 AM |

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