January 2016 News

BJP Reaches Out As PDP Sets Conditions

14 January 2016
The Hindu
Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar: As the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) went public on Thursday, seeking commitments on the implementation of the common minimum programme, the BJP made a formal attempt to address the concerns of the coalition partner. Sources said Union Finance and Expenditure Secretary Ratan P. Wattal held a one-hour meeting with PDP president and prospective Chief Minister candidate of the coalition, Mehbooba Mufti, and briefed her about fund allocation. Mr. Wattal's visit to Ms. Mufti's residence is being seen as an appraisal meeting, the first move by New Delhi to reach out to the PDP president whose party has expressed concerns both on governance front and fund allocation. The meeting assumes significance as Mr. Wattal was the architect of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's J&K package, which was announced in November 20015, in Srinagar. The PDP has accused New Delhi of last-minute cut in fund allocation in the power sector, which would have helped J&K buy back two power projects from the NHPC. Sources said Mr. Wattal and Ms. Mufti shared 'perspectives on fund allocation and progress of projects conceived by the coalition partners after taking over the reins of the State in March last year.' Earlier, seeking guarantees on the implementation of the 'Agenda for Alliance', PDP legislator and close aide of Ms. Mufti, Nayeem Akhtar, called for 'concrete action.' 'The two parties had agreed to address non-controversial things jointly, which included return of power projects, granting of smart cities, evacuation of land under the use of the Armed Forces and flood relief, besides the internal dimension of Kashmir. But we need to assess the progress on these fronts,' Mr. Akhtar told The Hindu.