Major Headway In Govt Formation

6 January 2015
Rising Kashmir
Faisul Yaseen

Srinagar: In a major headway in the process of government formation, Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) has nominated a five-member committee to draft the Common Minimum Program (CMP) with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which is likely to follow suit. Highly placed sources in New Delhi told Rising Kashmir that the decision was taken after the Core Group meeting of the party chaired by President Amit Shah on Monday. 'There is obviously a breakthrough as far as acceptance of most of the demands of PDP is concerned,' sources said. 'That is why the party has moved ahead to form the committee.' According to sources, the committee will work under the overall guidance of Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley with BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav, State BJP President Jugal Kishore, Union Minister of State (MoS) Jitendra Singh and Dr Nirmal Singh as members. Sources said all the major issues raised by PDP in its 'Agenda for Alliance' had been discussed and there was near total consensus to echo them. Besides the overall development, the agenda includes assurance on resumption of dialogue with Pakistan, separatists, strengthening of cross-Line of Control (LoC) Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), keeping Article 370 off the table and most importantly withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from certain areas. In the course of informal talks, the two sides are understood to have worded a proposal that government would 'strive for normalizing relations with Pakistan to begin a meaningful dialogue process to discussing all contentious issues' and the same language would apply to other issues as well. The sources said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also given his nod to the 'decisions' arrived at the Core Group meeting. The decision about the committee would be conveyed to PDP soon after which they would follow suit. Sources said that the informal negotiations had reached a crucial stage even as the ongoing tension across the borders between India and Pakistan had cast a shadow over the progress. 'PDP is yet to formulate its response to the issues raised by BJP as the consultations across the spectrum are on and the party leadership is analyzing the feedback from the ground,' a senior PDP leader said. Once the leadership concretizes its response, it would be discussed in the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the party and conveyed to BJP's committee. However, sources said that those who could likely be nominated for the draft committee for CMP include MPs Muzaffar Hussain Baig and Tariq Hamid Karra, noted economist and banker turned politician Haseeb Drabu, chief spokesman Naeem Akhtar, Vikramaditya Singh, Rangil Singh and Chowdhary Zulfiqar Ali. The structured dialogue, sources said, could only begin next week. 'It can happen only after both parties have their committees in place so that they take it forward,' sources said.