BJP-PDP Agreement Still Elusive?

25 February 2015
Nazir Masoodi

New Delhi: A day after announcing a partnership in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP and the People's Democratic Party, or PDP, have gone back to the negotiating table to sort out some last-minute differences, sources told NDTV. The meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, which was slated for Friday, also looks unlikely to happen, they said. The fallout, they said, could be a delay in the swearing-in ceremony, which is to take place on Sunday. Mr Sayeed, who is to take oath as chief minister, meant to formally invite PM Modi to the ceremony during their meeting. The two leaders were also to finalise the modalities of government formation. Related Uddhav Thackeray Declares War on Land Reforms, Gives These Orders to Sena Two Major Allies Join Attack on Government Over Land Reforms Goa BJP Law-Maker Caught on Camera Leading Attack on Restaurants But the BJP, said the sources, panicked yesterday following reports that it may have been severely compromised on its core issues in the common minimum programme with PDP. It was not clear whether a late-night meeting on Wednesday could resolve the matter. The two parties, ideological opposites, are expected to govern the state on the basis of the common minimum programme. They spent the last two months in attempts to bridge huge political and ideological differences. On Tuesday, two months after election results were declared in the state, BJP chief Amit Shah said his party will partner with the PDP to form government. 'We have reached some sort of consensus on a common minimum program,' he said. Sources said the BJP and PDP have agreed to maintain the state's constitutional status - a key demand of Mr Mufti, who has firmly opposed any attempt to weaken Article 370, which grants special status to J&K. The ruling BJP today told Parliament that there was no proposal to delete Article 370. On the Armed Forces' Special Powers' Act or AFPSA which gives the army legal impunity while dealing with militancy and authority to make arrests without warrants, the two parties have agreed to the gradual replacement of the military with the local police and paramilitary forces in areas where the security situation has improved, sources said.