BJP says some issues can be put to background, Mufti starts internal consultations in party
SRINAGAR: Even as suspense over forming government in Jammu and Kashmir continues, the back-channel talks between Peoples Democratic Party and BJP are going on with saffron party saying some issues can be put to background while PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has started internal consultations in the party over government formation.
“No party has got absolute mandate in the 87-member J&K Assembly and hence no party can claim that its manifesto should be implemented fully,” senior J&K BJP leader and Kashmir incharge Ramesh Arora told Express.
He said talks with PDP on government formation are going on. “The process to hammer our differences and reach at consensus on Common Minimum Programme (CMP) is a time consuming process”.
“It will take time as parties will have to show flexibility in their approach and their agendas. The parties will have to push some issues to background for framing a workable CMP,” Arora said.
The election results in Jammu and Kashmir threw up a hung Assembly with PDP emerging as the single-largest party with 28 seats and BJP close second with 25 seats. NC and Congress won 15 and 12 seats respectively while the smaller parties and independent candidates won seven seats.
Arora said except three points – issue of sovereignty of State, development and regional balance, all other issues are subject to negotiations.
He said exercise is going on to fix modalities and arrive at a consensus on CMP. “There will be a give and take scenario when CMP is finalized. For power sharing in coalition, parties have to show flexibility and make compromises on some issues as was the case during previous NDA-rule in the country,” Arora said.
The BJP leader said they don’t want Governor’s rule or re-election in the State. “We are hopeful that State will soon get credible and stable government.”
In a related development, PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has started internal consultations within the party on government formation.
“Mufti chaired a meeting of party’s leaders and newly elected legislators today. He apprised the members of the options available with the party for government formation and sough views of the leaders and newly elected legislators,” PDP chief spokesman Naeem Akhtar told Express.
He said the party leadership was trying to evolve a consensus on government formation before meeting Governor N N Vohra, who has invited PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and State BJP president Jugal Kishore for discussion on government formation any time till January 1.
This is seen as a positive development as the back-channel talks between PDP and BJP are going on and Mufti would like to keep his men informed about these talks. He would like his new elected members to seek feedback from people in their constituencies on party’s talks with BJP to see whether there are chances of any backlash against the party in the future.
Akhter said only informal talks have been held with BJP so far and structured dialogue has not started.
He, however, said efforts to form government in the State are on. “It would be a time consuming process as we will have to discuss all pros and cons before going for alliance with any party”.
“We should be able to form the government by not compromising on our agenda and key issues,” Akhter added.
In a related development, two more independent candidates – MLA Zanskar Syed Muhammad Baqir Rizvi and MLA Udhampur Pawan Gupta, whom outgoing Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and NC’s working president had claimed were backed by his party, have expressed readiness to support PDP-led regime.
Both Rizvi and Gupta told Express that they were ready to back PDP-led regime.
“I am not proxy of NC and my options are open. If NC is unable to form a government, then I will definitely support PDP-led regime in the State,” said Rizvi adding he does not want to sit in opposition.
Pawan Gupta said he was neither supported by NC, nor Congress or any other party. “I won elections on my own and am ready to support PDP-Congress coalition with certain conditions”.
Three other Valley-based independent legislators Hakim Yaseen (MLA Khan Sahib), Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami (CPIM State Secretary and MLA Kulgam) and Engineer Abdul Rashid (MLA Langate) have already expressed their willingness to support non-BJP government in the State.
According to political observers, support of five independent candidates will give more leverage to PDP in talks with BJP. “It has handed PDP an advantage over BJP in the talks and the party can stick to its guns on key issues including party’s CM for 6 year’s term, Article 370 and lifting of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the State.”
Congress has also offered unconditional support to PDP in forming coalition government in the State alongwith independents with PDP CM for six years.