BJP-PDP iron out last-minute hitches to seal J&K government deal


The BJP and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seem to have reportedly settled last-minute differences that threatened to derail the deal between the two parties on forming government in Jammu and Kashmir.

Media reports on Thursday said that a proposed between PDP patron Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, which was postponed at the last minute, will now take place on Friday.

The postponement of the meeting between the two leaders triggered speculations about a delay in the swearing-in ceremony, which is to take place on Sunday.

PDP patron Sayeed, who is likely to take oath as chief minister, is expected to formally invite PM Modi to the ceremony during their meeting.

PDP sources maintained that a broad agreement has been arrived at between the party and BJP on all issues including Article 370 of the Constitution that grants special status to J&K, AFSPA and resettlement of West Pakistan Refugees and that the new Government is likely to be sworn-in on March 1.

Opposition parties National Conference and Congress have termed the way in which talks for an alliance government has dragged on for weeks as mere posturing by PDP and BJP and claimed that both the parties have already arrived at a consensus and were making attempts to fool people of the state.

At the Friday meeting between the two leaders, final touches to a “comprehensive document” for governance might be given and after that it will be released in the state by both the parties.

Though March 1, considered as an ‘auspicious day’, is being favoured by both the parties for the swearing-in in Jammu, PDP chief spokesman Naeem Akhtar said “a final decision on oath taking will be taken only after the meeting between the PDP patron and the Prime Minister”.

Ahead of the meeting between Sayeed and Modi, both the parties are likely to meet for finalisation of the Cabinet. Nirmal Singh of BJP is expected to be the Deputy Chief Minister having the portfolio of Planning.

Sayeed is expected to hold the portfolio of Home and newly-elected PDP MLA Haseeb Drabu may be the new Finance Minister.

The December 23 election results saw a highly-fractured mandate with PDP emerging as single largest party with 28 MLAs followed by BJP with 25. Erstwhile allies National Conference and Congress ended with 15 and 12 seats respectively.

BJP and PDP, which have been in negotiations for nearly two months now, have ironed out all the differences over contentious issues including Article 370, Armed Forces Special Powers Act, resettlement of West Pakistan Refugees and holding talks with Pakistan and separatist leaders of the state.