Govt Formation: BJP Wants ‘Just And Equitable Share’ In Cabinet

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SRINAGAR: Even as a senior People’s Democratic Party leader said that there was no confrontation between PDP and BJP over the distribution of portfolios, the BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir unit on Wednesday said the party should get a “just and equitable share” in power with ally PDP and has conveyed it to the central leadership, indicating that it was driving a hard bargain before the swearing-in of Chief Minister-designate Mehbooba Mufti.

“There is a general perception that as the number of our MLAs is same as that of PDP, there is nothing wrong if we expect that our numbers (in government) to be same,” BJP’s State unit chief spokesman Sunil Sethi said, adding that it was for the Central leadership to negotiate with the PDP on the matter.

“It is for the party high command now how they negotiate the same (with PDP),” Sethi said.

Though the PDP-BJP alliance staked claim to form government in the state last Saturday, the date for swearing-in of the chief minister-designate is yet to be announced.

PDP has 27 legislators in the 87-member state Assembly while BJP has 25.

PDP and BJP had formed government on March one last year with Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as the Chief Minister and BJP’s Nirmal Singh as his deputy. In the council of ministers, PDP had 14 minsters and BJP 10.

Asked whether the delay in swearing-in of Ms Mufti was due to a tussle between the coalition partners over ministerial portfolios, he said, “There is nothing about any particular ministry. We just want the equitable distribution of power.

Jammu should also get equal share as Jammu has equal numbers (in the assembly).”

On the allegations levelled by former chief minister Omar Abdullah that BJP and PDP were not serious on government formation, Sethi said both the parties have already started the process of government formation.

The PDP leader on the other side said that there shall be no change in the cabinet structure to that of the earlier one when late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed was the chief minister. “Everything has been resolved,” he said. “Same portfolios will be allotted to the PDP that the party were in possession when late Mufti Sahab was the Chief Minister.”

He said that oath ceremony would have taken place but, “Mehboobaji was not ready to take oath before April 4. It was Mehboobaji who suggested to BJP that oath ceremony will take place any time after April 3 onwards.”

The PDP leader claimed that some BJP legislators are keen to get cabinet berth. “It is their internal affair and PDP has nothing to do with it,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the BJP legislators held a meeting in Jammu on Wednesday wherein the preparations with regard to the oath ceremony were overseen. 

The BJP has reportedly sent the list of members nominated for the cabinet for approval.

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