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BJP, PDP find middle ground, reach ‘CMP’ on forming government in J&K

J&KPeoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday announced that her party has reached an understanding with the Bharatiya Janata Party on forming a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing the press here along with BJP president Amit Shah, Mehbooba said, “We have reached an understanding on government formation.”

Details will be discolsed after the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, she added.

That meeting will be held in the next few days, Shah informed, while saying the two parties are “near alliance after several rounds of talks”.

He added that contentious issues in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) had been sorted out and the same will be finalised at the Modi-Mufti meet.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir will soon get a BJP-PDP popular government, he said with confidence.

The PDP chief said both the parties have found middle ground and that the coming government is not just about power sharing but to win the hearts of people.

“Keeping in mind the development and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, we have formulated an agenda for alliance between BJP and PDP,” she stated.

Earlier in the day, sources had said that the BJP and the PDP have agreed on the alliance and that the coalition government will be sworn in on March 1.

As per reports, PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed will be the chief minister in the coalition government that will rule the state for six years.

The BJP will have a deputy CM in the government. Sources said Nirmal Singh will take this post in the new government.

Both the parties wil have six ministers each in the coalition government.

The names of senior PDP leaders doing the rounds for Cabinet ministers posts are Abdul Rehman Veeri, Naeem Akhtar, Haseeb Drabu, Zulfiqar Choudhary, Abdul Haq Khan and Altaf Bukhari.

Those likely to be sworn in as BJP Cabinet ministers, apart from Nirmal Singh, are Bali Baghat, Sham Choudhary, Kavinder Gupta, Choudhary Lal Singh and Abdul Gani Kohli.

Sources in the BJP said Sajad Gani Lone of the People’s Conference, who had supported the party, is also a hot contender for a ministerial berth in the new state government.

The oath-taking ceremony will likely take place on March 1 (Sunday) at Zorawar Singh memorial auditorium of Jammu University and PM Modi is likely to attend the swearing-in.

The alliance was finalised after the two parties sorted out all contentious issues, including differences over AFSPA and Article 370.

So far, both the parties have kept under wraps the details of the CMP, particularly with respect to the Article 370 and Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), the two issues over which the two parties have completely opposite views.

The two sides are understood to have agreed on formation of a committee which will go into the AFSPA issue and suggest areas from where it could be revoked.

On Article 370, while BJP has given no written assurance as demanded by the PDP. The CMP is expected to say that both parties will respect the aspirations of the people of the state within the purview of the Constitution, sources said.

The proposed CMP may also touch upon the issue of more than 25,000 families of West Pakistan refugees by terming it as a humanitarian issue.

According to sources, the portfolios have also been finalised with the PDP likely to walk away with Home and Finance while the BJP is expected to get Tourism and Water Resources, Public Health Engineering and Planning.

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