SRI NAGAR: Direct talks between the PDP and the BJP on forming a government in Jammu and Kashmir may be delayed as the backroom negotiations between the parties have hit a deadlock on contentious issues such as Article 370, partial revocation of the AFSPA, talks with separatist leaders and the settlement of west Pakistan refugees.
“There is a deadlock in the government formation talks with the BJP,” PDP chief spokesperson Naeem Akhtar told Express. “The PDP and the BJP are engaged in complex talks. Forming a coalition of the two parties which have varied ideologies and agendas is as difficult for the BJP as it is for us,” he added. “The PDP is seeking assurances from the BJP leadership on Article 370, partial revocation of the AFSPA and talks with separatists,” a source said.
According to sources, the BJP is ready for maintaining status quo on Article 370 but won’t to make any commitment on revoking the law giving special powers to armed forces.
“We are not ready to make any commitment on the AFSPA, because any decision on it can be taken by the Centre, only with the consent of the defence ministry and the Army,” a state BJP leader said.
As far as talks with separatist leaders are concerned, he said, the party is ready to look into the option. “However, we have told the PDP that talks with separatists can only be held within the ambit of the Constitution.”
Akhtar said the direct talks, which were expected to start in Delhi this week, would have to wait till a solution to all the contentious issues was reached. The PDP had even finalised its team of six leaders for the direct talks.
And the saffron party is seeking an assurance from the PDP that the west Pakistan refugees living in the state since 1947 would be granted permanent residency. The refugee issue should be seen through “a humanitarian angle”, as was advocated by PDP leader and MP Muzaffar Hussain Baig, the BJP source said.
The PDP and BJP, which emerged as the largest parties in the 87-member Assembly with 28 and 25 seats respectively, have held informal talks on government formation since the election results were declared on December 23, 2014.