BJP And PDP On Verge Of Power-sharing Deal In J&K

5 January 2015
Mail Online India


Srinagar: The decks have been cleared for the government formation in Jammu and Srinagar with the Bharatiya Janata BJP (BJP) and the People's Democratic Party (PDP) on the verge of a power-sharing agreement. However ongoing hostilities on the border are threatening to undermine the negotiations. Highly placed sources said that there was no issue hindering the process of the government formation- neither substantive nor peripheral - as basic issues such as whether the PDP will lead the government for full six-year tenure are settled. This, therefore, translates into the fact that there will be no rotation of chief ministers. The BJP core group, which was huddled in a meeting at party president Amit Shah's house in New Delhi, decided to form a team to hold discussions across the table on concluding the pact. The BJP leaders said that the PDP has taken the initiative, which has taken the discussion forward. But the emerging view in the PDP is that it was not desirous of forming the government at this juncture. The leadership has hinted that hostilities on the border have to settle down before the PDP can convince the people in the Valley about the reconciliation formulae, on the lines of India's former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's peace-building initiatives for the state. 'There has been an initiative from the PDP's side. To take this forward, we discussed (holding) further discussions on the issue,' said BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav 'There has been an initiative from the PDP's side. To take this forward, we discussed (holding) further discussions on the issue,' said BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav In 2003, during PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's rule, Vajpayee, in his public rally in Srinagar, had assured that 'we wish to resolve all issues - both domestic and external - through talks.' Vajpayee had said issues can be resolved if we move forward whilst being guided by the three principles of insaaniyat (humanism), jamhooriyat (democracy) and Kashmiriyat (Kashmir's age-old legacy of amity). The PDP has suggested a 2003 formula where the government can be formed by January 19, the stipulated time for the new Assembly to be constituted, but Governor Narinder Nath Vohra can keep the Assembly suspended for a month till February 19 when the coalition is formed. The PDP has sought a repeat of 2003 when it took a month to form a partnership with the Congress as the common minimum programme was being hammered out. The BJP said that its team of negotiators with the PDP will be authorised to take decisions. The party leaders acknowledged that there was a forward movement on the proposals put forward by the PDP. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said: 'There has been an initiative from the PDP's side. To take this forward, we discussed to hold further discussions on the issue. At the moment, there is some forward moment in this regard.' He added: 'Keeping in mind the mandate in Jammu and Kashmir, we have decided to take forward the talks.' Among others, Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh, party's in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna and state unit president Jugal Kishore Sharma attended the meeting in Delhi along with senior state leaders Nirmal Singh and Bali Bhagat. The BJP said the team would be constituted in a day or two. The PDP leadership claimed that it will have to convince people in the Valley about he reconciliation and the rationale for going with the BJP. The party feels that the hostilities on the border can hinder this process. It wants to buy time for a month to firm the alliance with the BJP. The PDP leadership wants to test waters to see how the central government deals with the volatile border situation. 'BJP aiming to wage war against Muslims' With the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bracing for an alliance to form government in Jammu and Kashmir, separatist hardliner Syed Ali Geelani on Monday launched a scathing attack on the saffron brigade and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) by accusing the regional parties such as the PDP and NC of helping the Hindu outfit in its 'anti-Muslim' agenda. 'BJP with the help of the local pro-Indian politicians want to implement the RSS agenda in Kashmir and with military power they want to eliminate Muslim identity and culture of people of J&K,' Geelani said. 'If the authorities in New Delhi have any confusion after holding elections in the presence of more than 7.5 lakh troops and placing the entire pro-freedom camp in jails then they should have no problem with holding of referendum in the state to know the reality,' Geelani said. Describing the BJP as a 'communal party', he added, 'Ghar Wapsi and other slogans are akin to waging war against minorities particularly Muslims. 'Pro-India parties like NC and PDP are not worried about protection of the Muslim identity in J&K,' Geelani claimed. 'Miffed' Omar targets grand PDP-BJP tie-up: Jammu and Kashmir's outgoing Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is now at his argumentative best to oppose a possible alliance between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). From London the chief minister has been constantly tweeting to argue against the possible alliance. 'We are being told by the @jkpdp that the tie-up with BJP is necessary for the 44,000 crore flood relief. Shouldn't a state just get its due?' Abdullah tweeted from London, where he is with his father Farooq Abdullah - who is recuperating after a kidney transplant. PDP and its supporters have been arguing that if the party doesn't tie-up with BJP then the Central government would not support the state. Moreover, they argue, the Centre could withhold Rs 44,000 crore which has been sought by the state government for relief and rehabilitation of over 12 lakh Kashmiri families hit by the September 2014 floods. Soon after last September's floods the state government led by outgoing Chief Minister Omar described the calamity as an 'international disaster' and put losses up to Rs 100,000 crore. Later, in October the state government submitted a proposal to the Central government seeking a special financial package of Rs 44,000 crore for the rehabilitation of flood-affected people. However, the Central government has yet to respond to the proposal. Omar is also targeting PDP and BJP over the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). For years the outgoing chief minister has been demanding that the law be lifted from the state, even though the Army opposed such a move. In November of 2011, Army had reportedly told Omar in an over hour-long presentation at the Unified Command meeting that the country could be compelled to grant the state independence by 2016 if the government plans to lift AFSPA from some areas. However, the outgoing chief minister did not relent and kept demanding the removal of the law. He raised the issue with former prime minister and the then Union Defence Minister in the previous UPA government at the Centre. He had also said that draw-down of NATO forces in Afghanistan could not be the reason for continuation of AFSPA in the state. His repeated demands were criticised by both PDP and BJP. PDP had criticised the chief minister for raising AFSPA issue with the Union ministers, saying Omar has lowered the dignity of the CM's office. Interestingly, now PDP has put gradual withdrawal of AFSPA from J&K as the main condition for an alliance with the BJP. Not surprisingly, Omar didn't lose the opportunity to target the rival parties over this. 'So when I raised AFSPA I was accused of playing politics with Nat Sec. BJP negotiates Govt formation with @jkpdp using AFSPA & that's OK??' Omar tweeted.