Other States

Letter from J&K Governor forces BJP, PDP into huddle

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But parties yet to begin talks on govt. formation

Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra seemed poised to play a major role in whether government formation takes place in the State, nearly a month after the death of the former Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayyed.

His letter to both the BJP and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), led by Mehbooba Mufti, the two partners who were in government, stirred them to go into a huddle, though neither party initiated formal talks with each other, with the PDP not even electing Ms. Mufti as its legislature party leader at Monday’s meeting. PDP sources told The Hindu that Ms Mufti is likely to seek more time from the Governor when she meets him on Tuesday.

The BJP, too, has maintained that it will stick to the ‘Agenda for the Alliance’ finalised by the party last year for forming the government, resisting any “inducement to offer a grand gesture” to the PDP. Party leaders from Jammu — the former Deputy Chief Minister, Nirmal Singh, BJP State chief Satpal Sharma and Lok Sabha member Jugal Kishore — were at meetings with the party brass till late in the evening. “The leaders from the State met central leaders to apprise us of the situation, and what they plan to convey to the Governor,” said BJP general secretary Ram Madhav.

The PDP deliberately delayed election of Ms. Mufti as legislature party chief, a prerequisite for becoming Chief Minister.

“No fresh demands are on the table nor is it about semantics. Trust deficit issue should be addressed. It remains a fact the movement on the agreed upon issues in the Agenda was slow…But we are not asking for anything new or beyond the ‘Agenda.’ We will go by the late Mufti’s terms and conditions only,” PDP leader and MLC Nayeem Akhtar told The Hindu.

However, sources said the PDP had expressed its concern to coalition partner BJP “at the highest level” over constant moves by the party to “challenge J&K’s constitutional position through judiciary” and “violating the coalition dharma.”

“The BJP has to reciprocate our concerns. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi can take bold steps like reaching out to Pakistan, why can’t he afford to reach out to the people of J-K. Any headway between India and Pakistan would be difficult unless the internal dimension is addressed,” said another senior PDP leader.

Sources said the legislature party meet saw PDP MLAs expressing their support for snap polls in J-K in case no headway is made on implementation of the ‘Agenda.’ In a harshly-toned statement on Sunday, Ms. Mufti said, “I don’t want to burn my fingers [with the BJP] for nothing. Even if I stand alone I will go ahead with my father’s vision.”

In such a situation, Governor Vohra’s role assumes great importance.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 11:37:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/letter-from-jk-governor-forces-bjp-pdp-into-huddle/article8180319.ece

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