PDP toes BJP line, agrees to put in place government first

Ms. Mufti is PDP’s nominee for the Chief Minister’s post, said senior party leader Muzaffar Baig after the meeting.

Updated - November 17, 2021 04:58 am IST

Published - March 24, 2016 06:29 pm IST - Srinagar

The Peoples Democratic Party on Thursday elected its president Mehbooba Mufti as leader of the legislature party and chief ministerial candidate, setting the stage for the PDP-BJP alliance to stake a claim for forming a government in Jammu and Kashmir after 77 days of political uncertainty.

A meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ms. Mufti in New Delhi on Tuesday saw the PDP president dropping all earlier conditions to have visible confidence-building measures in place before government formation.

On the contrary, the PDP was forced to toe the BJP line to form the government first.

“All the senior party leaders and the legislators have decided that Ms. Mufti be the chief ministerial candidate. After the invitation of Governor N.N. Vohra, the two parties [the PDP and the BJP] will meet him and fix the date for the swearing-in,” PDP founding member Muzaffar Hussain Baig, MP, said after the legislature party meeting here.

Mr. Baig said the ‘Agenda of the Alliance,’ the common minimum programme agreed to by the alliance partners in 2015, “was comprehensive and there was no need to put any fresh demands.”

Meanwhile, the BJP legislature party meeting, to be attended by BJP national general secretary and main interlocutor Ram Madhav and Union Minister Jatinder Singh, is scheduled for Friday, ahead of the meeting with the Governor.

Rebel PDP MP Tariq Hameed Karra, whom Ms. Mufti visited personally on Wednesday, also attended the meeting in a show of unity on government formation.

Earlier, Ms. Mufti visited the grave of her father Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.

Dissent in PDP may have forced PDP chief to act

The efforts at government formation hit a dead end last Saturday when a scheduled meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti in New Delhi was called off, despite a successful round of talks with BJP president Amit Shah.

According to top sources, talks resumed after the intervention of an emissary from the PM’s office. There were reports of arm-twisting by Ms. Mufti through posturing and hardening of positions by the BJP. However, the Modi-Mehbooba meeting saw a breakthrough.

Sources said Ms. Mufti faced a major crisis within the party, with legislators making remarks like “making the government with or without Ms. Mufti” and rebellion over facing fresh elections.

The government formation seems on course now with the PDP expecting no new negotiations on portfolios. “Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made it clear that nothing had changed since Mr. Sayeed’s death. We welcome the stand,” PDP leader Nayeem Akhtar said.

Most PDP leaders on Thursday refused to comment on the delay in government formation and progress made on Ms. Mufti’s demands.

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