BJP-PDP deal now in PM’s court

He has to take final call on J&K’s status and AFSPA

February 16, 2015 01:42 am | Updated December 04, 2021 11:35 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

SRINAGAR, JAMMU AND KASHMIR, 24/12/2014: CRPF personnel chase a Kashmiri protestor during a protest in Maisuma Srinagar on December 24, 2014. Photo: Nissar Ahmad

SRINAGAR, JAMMU AND KASHMIR, 24/12/2014: CRPF personnel chase a Kashmiri protestor during a protest in Maisuma Srinagar on December 24, 2014. Photo: Nissar Ahmad

The talks between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to formulate a common minimum programme for a potential coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir are facing last-minute hurdles, sources have told The Hindu .

Both parties are keen to conclude an agreement and have a government before Parliament’s Budget Session begins on February 23, but the BJP’s difficulty in toning down its long-held positions on the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir and the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) could turn out to be a deal-breaker.

A final call on these issues will have to be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A PDP leader said: “We understand the dilemma of the BJP, for which doing away with the special status of J&K has been a founding principle. But here is a new opportunity to build bridges between Jammu and Kashmir, the State and the rest of India and between India and Pakistan.”

“That is why the PDP-BJP understanding is crucial for Mr. Modi’s vision for south Asia,” the leader said.

BJP, PDP propose phased withdrawal of AFSPA

In an >exclusive interview to The Hindu on Saturday, PDP patriarch Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said Mr. Modi had a “mandate to make India a great power.”

Watch the interview here:

“J&K is the most difficult problem faced by all Indian prime ministers. But the opportunity provided by the hung verdict this time is historic,” the PDP leader had said.

During the talks the point came up that while the Army has in practice already diluted the impunity of troops under the AFSPA, its continuing application in the entire State is bringing a bad name to New Delhi. Both parties are working towards a scheme to roll back the law in a phased manner.

While the BJP has been open to engaging the separatists and Pakistan and to address the concerns regarding the AFSPA, the most difficult of all issues is formulating a position acceptable to both parties on the State’s special status. The proposal on the table is for the CMP to keep all contentious issues in suspension for discussion in a future mechanism, a “roundtable.”

Two other questions on the BJP agenda that are sensitive in the Valley are delimitation of constituencies in the State, and the status of those who crossed over to Jammu from what became Pakistan in 1947. These issues also will have to be suspended, for the CMP to take shape.

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