Speculations Over:PDP to announce Govt. formation today

SRINAGAR: The fate of the PDP-BJP alliance will be known today when the People’s Democratic Party president, Mehbooba Mufti shall catch an early morning flight to Jammu to convey to the State Governor, N N Vohra whether to continue PDP’s alliance with the BJP or part ways.

The outcome of the discussion shall set aside all the speculations brewing for the past 29 days resulting in a political deadlock forcing the Centre to place the state under Governor’s rule.

A PDP insider on Monday confided to Kashmir Observer that the alliance shall stand as per the previous arrangement though he did not rule out some minor changes in the redistribution of portfolios. 

Asked what it was that stopped Mehbooba Mufti to take over immediately after the demise of his father Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, the party insider said: “After the death of her father, she (Mehbooba Mufti) was in a great shock and was not able to come to the terms with the loss. After she regained her composure, she began to think about the Alliance seriously and felt that her father was betrayed on a number of issues.”

The insider said that Mehbooba Mufti conveyed to the BJP High Command her ‘misgivings’ and she has amply been assured that the conditions under which the Alliance was set, shall be fulfilled in letter and spirit.  

In the Sunday’s meeting with her party leaders, Mehbooba Mufti had openly decreed that her father had taken a hugely ‘unpopular’ decision while aligning with the BJP with the hope that the Central Government headed by Narendra Modi will take decisive measures to address the core political and economic issues concerning Jammu and Kashmir and its people.

Mehbooba said unfortunately, instead of partnering with and implementing Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s vision of bringing peace, stability and prosperity to Jammu and Kashmir, certain quarters, both within J&K and in New Delhi, started overtly and covertly triggering frequent controversies over avoidable contentious issues resulting in wastage of the state government’s energies in firefighting and propitiation.

When the PDP source was asked whether the ‘misgivings’ expressed by Mehbooba Mufti would be laid to rest if the PDP decided to go ahead with the Alliance, he said. “Do you think, she was wasting her time all this while? No. She was in constant touch with the BJP leadership wherein she amply made it clear that PDP was not up for sale and unless the Centre gave concrete assurances, PDP would not go ahead with the power-sharing arrangement in the present format.”

“We’ll have to see what approach the Centre would adopt with regard to the core issues tagged by the PDP,” he said. “In an atmosphere, where there’re limited choices, stretching something beyond its capacity would eventually break it.”

Earlier PDP and BJP leaders closeted with their respective lawmakers separately in Jammu and Kashmir’s twin capital on Monday to decide future courses of action.

Soon after the core group of BJP including MLAs met in Jammu on yesterday, a 3-member delegation led by Sharma rushed to Delhi to meet the party high command to explain ground realities in the State. 

The meeting was held in the backdrop of the Governor’s virtually serving ultimatum on the government formation and PDP president,  Mufti’s, categorically stating that it would form the new government with its alliance partner only if and when the latter assures it that her father and former Chief Minister,  Sayeed’s, ‘vision’ would be fulfilled.

Governor, N.N. Vohra's, is believed to have asked PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and her counterpart in the State unit of the BJP Sat Sharma to clarify by Tuesday evening whether they will form government in the state again or not. Both Mufti and Sharma are scheduled to meet the Governor separately at Raj Bhavan in winter capital Jammu on Tuesday afternoon.  

Most constitutional and legal experts say that if the PDP-BJP combine conveys to the Governor about their failure to form the new government and he is satisfied that none of the other political parties are in a position to fill the vacuum by providing Jammu and Kashmir a stable government he may recommend dissolution of the State Assembly and holding of fresh elections.

The PDP emerged as the largest party in the November-December 2014 elections to the 87-member Assembly after winning 28 seats. It cobbled up a coalition with ideologically-divergent BJP, which has 25 seats, in March last year to form a government in the State.

Owing to the demise of its patron and Chief Minister, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, in a Delhi hospital on January 7, the PDP’s tally has come down to 27.  Sayeed represented southern Anantnag constituency. Two other major parties National Conference (NC) and Congress have 15 and 12 seats, respectively. The remaining seats went to smaller parties or independents.

However, J&K BJP chief Sat Sharma said that the PDP has not sent it of any pre conditions for government formation. He also said that his party is not only committed to implement ‘Agenda of the Alliance’, the common-minimum programme reached between the two sides for government formation last year “but can also think and work beyond it.” 

A report from Delhi said that the BJP delegation comprising Sharma and two other senior leader- former deputy chief ministers Dr. Nirmal Singh and MP Jugal Kishore are likely to meet party president Amit Shah and national general secretary Ram Madhav who played a major role in forging his party’s alliance with the PDP.

The PDP’s legislature party met here to formally elect Mehbooba Mufti as its leader. The party sources said she will fly to Jammu on Tuesday morning to meet the Governor in the afternoon. PDP has already authorised her to take the final call on the government formation.

Both PDP and BJP received fax communications from the Governor on Sunday evening for holding consultations with their leaders on the government formation.  Sharma said that a delegation of the BJP will also call on Vohra on Tuesday. 

Mehbooba Mufti had on Sunday while presiding over a meeting of its extended core group said the party will take a call on government formation as and when it is confident that the “vision and mission” of its patron and former Chief Minister Sayeed will be carried forward and implemented in letter and spirit.

“Mufti Sahib took a courageous, although unpopular, decision of aligning with BJP with the hope that the Central government headed by Narendra Modi will take decisive measures to address the core political and economic issues concerning Jammu and Kashmir and its people,” she said adding that “Unfortunately, instead of partnering with and implementing  Sayeed’s vision of bringing peace, stability and prosperity to Jammu and Kashmir, certain quarters, both within J&K and in New Delhi, started overtly and covertly triggering frequent controversies over avoidable contentious issues resulting in wastage of the State government’s energies in fire fighting and propitiation”.

She also said that she was not disinclined to form the government but would not do it unless she receives these assurances from the alliance partner. “I will not burn my fingers for nothing. PDP will not form government just for the sake of power but, if it does, it will be, as envisioned by Mufti Sahib, with the objective of addressing the core political and economic issues confronting J&K as was done by the PDP-led government between 2002 and 2005,” she said.

Jammu and Kashmir was brought under Governor’s rule as the alliance partners PDP and BJP failed to form the new government following the demise of Chief Minister Sayeed in a Delhi hospital on January 7.  The PDP has been maintaining that the Agenda of Alliance is a “sacred document” and wants its implementation on ground in letter and spirit to ensure the State’s inclusive development.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister and working president of opposition NC, Omar Abdullah, said yesterday that the PDP and BJP cannot turn Jammu and Kashmir into a play ground and appreciated the Governor’s move asking the alliance partners to clear stand on government formation. "Good. The state can't be treated like a play ground by these two parties," he wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.com.

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