J&K Government Formation: Mehbooba Mufti In Delhi, Likely To Meet PM

22/03/2016 8:31 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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NEW DELHI, INDIA: Chairperson of the Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party (PDP), Mehbooba Mufti (L) answers a question as President of the National Conference of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah looks on during the third annual Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi, 16 November 2005. The two-day long Hindustan Times Leadership Initiative is attended by key political and business leaders from both India and overseas, with the aim of discussing the changing dynamics between India and the world on social, economic and political issues. AFP PHOTO/RAVEENDRAN (Photo credit should read RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Although the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership in Delhi remained "not very hopeful" of a breakthrough, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti is in the national capital in the hope of breaking the deadlock in Jammu and Kashmir under Governor’s rule since January 7.

"Tuesday is very crucial," a senior PDP leader told The Indian Express, adding that “a final call on government formation will likely be taken.”

Mufti is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi today after efforts to revive the coalition with the BJP hit a roadblock last week.

Mehbooba's second visit to the national capital in five days after her talks with BJP President Amit Shah on Thursday failed to make any headway, triggered speculation that the two parties could be making renewed efforts to reach out to each other in a bid to break the prolonged impasse.

We stand fully committed as far as agenda of governance is concerned.

The visit comes a day after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, "we stand fully committed as far as agenda of governance is concerned" in J and K. On her arrival yesterday, Mehbooba, after some personal work, remained closeted in her room at the Jammu and Kashmir House in Chanakyapuri and sources in the know said that a meeting with the Prime Minister was likely to be happen.

Mehbooba had a meeting this evening with her senior party colleagues including former Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu where final touches was being given for a possible meeting. The fresh efforts from PDP, which has 27 MLAs in the 87-member state Assembly, come in the backdrop of repeated assertions made by the BJP that it was committed to implementation of Agenda of Alliance arrived at by her father late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed.

mufti mohammad sayeed mehbooba mufti

The talks with BJP, which has 25 MLAs, had hit a roadblock last week when party's interlocutor on the state Ram Madhav made it clear that no fresh demands would be entertained from its former alliance partner PDP and that they decide whether they want to form a government based on the Agenda of Alliance document. The toughening of stand came as a surprise for Mehbooba who boarded a plane next morning and returned to the state.

Baig, who has been playing a key role in the back-channel talks, had clarified that PDP had made no fresh demands and that there was a miscommunication from both sides leading to derailing of talks. While there was no official confirmation from PDP side, it was believed that Mehbooba has conveyed her willingness to take over reins of the government and discuss other issues later.

PDP is also understood to have called for a Legislative party meeting on Thursday where she may be elected as its leader. PDP and BJP had formed an alliance on March one last year with Sayeed as the Chief Minister. Both the sides had formed an "Agenda of Alliance" which sought to address internal and external dimension of the state.

jammu and kashmir

The PDP had toughened its stance after Sayeed's demise by seeking concrete plans for the state's development including handing over of power projects to the state and vacation of land by Army before the coalition could be revived.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah called on Governor NN Vohra yesterday but ruled out National Conference providing an alternative saying his party would rather prefer mid-term elections than indulging in "horse-trading". He, however, said nobody wants mid-term polls, but if a government is not formed, then election is the only way out.

I think rushing to Delhi is Mehbooba Mufti's last ditch effort to save her party because she realises if she does not form the government on the terms and conditions set by BJP, her party will split and if her party splits then she will be in a much weaker position than she is today.

"There is an effort right now to gather support independent of Mehbooba Mufti. I think rushing to Delhi is Mehbooba Mufti's last ditch effort to save her party because she realises if she does not form the government on the terms and conditions set by BJP, her party will split and if her party splits then she will be in a much weaker position than she is today. So she is trying to save her party," Omar told reporters after meeting Vohra at Raj Bhawan.

Omar also alleged BJP was breaking parties in states. "Now BJP or elements attached to BJP are breaking parties. We have seen this type of government formation by horse trading in Arunachal Pradesh and another attempt is now made in Uttarakhand," he claimed.

(With PTI inputs)

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