Other States

‘Informal talks’ with PDP to form govt in J&K: BJP

BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav at party president Amit Shah's residence before a meeting over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir in New Delhi on Monday.

BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav at party president Amit Shah's residence before a meeting over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir in New Delhi on Monday.  

The BJP on Monday said officially that it was in talks with the Mufti Mohammad Syeed-led Peoples Democratic Party for government formation in Jammu and Kashmir "on the basis of the initiative shown by the latter."

"There is some forward movement. Today, we have decided that we will start structured talks with PDP leaders on the basis of the initiative shown by them,’’ BJP general secretary Ram Madhav told journalists after a meeting of the Jammu and Kashmir Core group with party president Amit Shah in New Delhi. This is the first time that the party has said formally about it being in talks with a regional party.

However, when asked about whether the talks would be around BJP’s aspiration of leading the government in the border state, he said, ``Keeping in mind the mandate in Jammu and Kashmir we have decided to take forward the talks.’’

Among those who participated in the strategy meeting at Mr. Shah’s residence were BJP state unit president Jugal Kishore Sharma, party in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna, state leaders Nirmal Singh and Bali Bhagat, Union Minister of State Jitendra Singh and Mr. Madhav.

Separately Union Finance Minister and central observer for the state, Arun Jaitley, told a television channel that although it was difficult for political parties to give up their ideological positions, controversial issues could be set aside.
"A government in the sensitive state should be based on sovereignty, good governance and regional balance," he added.

The PDP and the BJP have emerged as the two largest single parties in the Assembly polls with the former winning almost all its seats in the Kashmir valley and the BJP sweeping the Jammu region. Between them the two parties hold 53 seats, which is a comfortable majority for government formation in the 87-member Assembly.

From all accounts the BJP has still not given up on the chief minister’s post on the basis of it having won a larger vote share than the PDP. Although PDP won 28 seats, the BJP got a larger vote share at 23 per cent.

The first hint that the BJP and the PDP could form government in JK came when after her meeting with JK Governor last week Mehbooba Mufti said that the mandate given by people of JK was "challenging" but it was also a great opportunity for national parties to reach out to the people of the state.

Meanwhile, outgoing Chief Minister Omar Abdullah questioned BJP's reported negotiations with PDP, which wants revocation of AFSPA, saying the ruling party at the Centre had accused him of compromising national security whenever he raised the issue.

The BJP had initially held talks with the NC for government formation but was falling short of majority as the two parties had between them won 40 seats and required 44 to reach half-way mark to form government.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 4:16:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/informal-talks-with-pdp-to-form-jk-govt-bjp/article6757085.ece

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