PDP president Mehbooba Mufti is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi today in an effort to renew a partnership between her People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bhartiya Janta Party(BJP) to form government in Jammu and Kashmir.
The BJP’s stand was made clear by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who said on Monday, “We are committed to the alliance agenda. Mehbooba has to make up her mind.”
It was after Jaitley said earlier that the BJP was committed to the “agenda of alliance” signed between the two parties that Mufti flew to Delhi on Monday, three days after talks had broken down again.
She had met BJP president Amit Shah last week, but returned to Jammu and Kashmir without a breakthrough and with top leaders of her party saying there was little hope now of bridging a yawning gap between the two parties.
The BJP and PDP had agreed to the “agenda for alliance” when they joined hands last year to govern Jammu and Kashmir. That partnership was scripted by Mehbooba Mufti’s father and Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Saeed, who died in early January this year. Mehbooba Mufti has since refused to take oath as chief minister till some key demands of her party are met by the Centre, where the BJP is in power.
The PDP has asked for written assurances and argues that it is only demanding the implementation of things agreed upon in their agenda for alliance.
On Friday last, a day after a warm meeting between Ms Mufti and Amit Shah, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said, “The Centre is always ready to look into the demands of a state government but meeting demands as a condition for government formation is not acceptable,” and admitted that the “stalemate continues”.
Mufti’s departure for Delhi was preceded by that of three senior leaders of her party this morning fuelling hope in Jammu and Kashmir that channels of communication with the BJP have been once again opened.
Ideological opposites BJP and PDP had joined hands last after no party got a majority in state elections. The PDP is the largest party with 28 seats – now 27 following Mr Sayeed’s death – in the 87-member house. The BJP is second with 25 seats.