BJP Tells Negotiator: No Pledge To PDP In Writing, 'only Understanding'

19 February 2015
Greater Kashmir

Jammu: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has expressed its unwillingness to give any assurance in writing to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with regard to some of the contentious issues including revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and not fiddling with Article 370, Greater Kashmir has learnt. According to top BJP sources, the party's central leadership has told its point-man-who is negotiating on the 'alliance agenda' of PDP - that 'any assurance in writing on AFSPA, Article 370 and West Pakistan Refugees will mean party's death in Jammu' where it has secured 25 seats in the recent assembly elections. The point-man, the sources disclosed, has been asked to communicate to PDP leadership that 'while there shall be some understanding with it on these contentious issues, nothing can be put in black and white in the given circumstances.' The contentious issues, they said, are the 'only stumbling block' in the way of government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, with PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed 'again insisting' that the assurance on all issues from the BJP 'must come in writing.' 'A lot of ground has been covered on the Common Minimum Programme (CMP), but three main contentious issues including Article 370, revocation of AFSPA and status quo on West Pakistan Refugees are causing last-minute hiccups in reaching a consensus,' the sources said, adding; 'PDP patron has, once again, reiterated that there shall be no compromise on the contentious issues and BJP must give assurances with regard to these in writing.' Sources said PDP-BJP talks-minus the contentious issues-have been 'highly successful.' 'There are no issues with regard to Chief Ministership, as some reports indicate. That issue has been resolved. Other issues including distribution of ministerial berths have also been almost finalized. The only stumbling block, as I said, is AFSPA, Article 370 and West Pakistan refugees,' they said. Pertinently, the two parties are in the midst of talks on government formation following the hung verdict that the December 23 assembly poll results threw up. PDP bagged 28 seats, emerging as single-largest party, followed by BJP's 25 in Jammu. The National Conference and Congress bagged 15 and 12 seats respectively while seven seats went into the kitty of independents and smaller parties. After January 1, PDP forwarded its 'alliance agenda' to BJP which includes, among other things, proposals with regard to revocation of controversial AFSPA 'within one year' and its 'immediate revocation from certain areas of the state', no fiddling with Article 370 that guarantees special status to J&K, and status quo on West Pakistan refugees. The PDP patron, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, has already asserted that negotiations were still on, 'and we are trying to reach agreement on some difficult issues.' 'We are in no hurry. If we cannot arrive at a common minimum programme that we agree on, let some other parties try and form the government, let someone else be Chief Minister. I cannot compromise on our basic ideology for the sake of the Chief Minister's chair. There are certain issues we cannot compromise on,' he has said. The BJP, on the other side, is facing flak from the right-wing RSS and Sangh Parivar for 'making compromise on its ideological principles' on government formation with the PDP.