NEW DELHI: The over two-month-old stalemate over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir finally showed signs of ending as PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday. The PDP will now hold a meeting on Thursday where the final call to revive the alliance with the BJP is expected to be announced.
Emerging from the 15-minute meeting, Mufti said her talk with Modi had been “very positive” and she was “very satisfied”. This was the first time Mehbooba has spoken on record since her father’s death on January 7. Mufti said, “We have seen a stalemate for last two to three months over government formation in the state but today I am satisfied. I am very satisfied.”
When asked if the stalemate had ended, she said, “When you meet the Prime Minister of the country, naturally the solution to the problems faced by the people of Jammu and Kashmir is clearer.”
As she had maintained a hard stand and demanded more assurances before she agreed to restoring the PDP’s alliance with the BJP, the present move is seen as a climb down, with the Centre saying the government will be formed on terms agreed upon during the tenure of Mufti’s father, the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. It was a battle of nerves as both BJP and PDP maintained their respective stances.
“Just as it happened during the situation with Shiv Sena during government formation in Maharashtra, PDP also had to relent and agree to earlier terms,” explained a BJP leader. Sources said the stalemate would have cost PDP dearly given its MLAs were feeling restless. This may have forced Mufti to soften her stance.
The meeting between Mufti and the PM took place six days after her meeting with BJP president Amit Shah hit a road block. After that meeting, BJP’s chief interlocutor Ram Madhav had announced that his party would not accept any fresh demands from its erstwhile ally.
The BJP also termed the meeting positive. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that it was “constructive and good”. There was an apparent sense of relief in the state BJP unit, that had been clueless over the status of talks. Former Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Dr Nirmal Singh in Jammu said, “It is a positive development (for the formation of new government). It is a good thing and we welcome it.”
On Thursday during the meeting of the PDP MLAs, Mufti is likely to be elected leader of the legislative party.