January 2016 News

NC Open To Tie-up With BJP; PDP Core Group Meet Today

16 January 2016
The Indian Express

Srinagar: In a twist that could offer an alternative to break the impasse on government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, opposition National Conference on Saturday expressed readiness to consider a tie-up with BJP, even as PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti called a meeting of senior leaders of her party on Sunday to discuss the alliance with the saffron party. As uncertainty loomed large over the continuance of PDP-BJP alliance, National Conference (NC) leader Farooq Abdullah on Saturday added a new element by saying his party was ready to consider a tie-up with the BJP for government formation, if such an offer is received. 'If such a proposal comes, then NC will call a Working Committee (meeting) and debate over it. If such a situation arises, NC can think over it as we have not closed the doors. Our doors are open,' he told reporters in Jammu. The patron of the 15-member NC was responding when asked to spell out his party's stand if it gets a proposal from BJP for forming a coalition government in the state. Abdullah, whose party had earlier been a part of NDA, said, 'NC never shies away from its role. In 1996 when nobody was ready for election, we came forward.' The former Chief Minister said, '...uncertainty is not good for the state and the situation would benefit our enemies.' Attacking PDP, he said, 'Uncertainty has been created by PDP as BJP is ready to form the government and God knows what PDP is thinking. I hope they end this and the government would continue.' The core group of the PDP will be meeting on Sunday at 2 pm. 'Mehbooba Mufti has convened a meeting of party's all former ministers in late CM Mufti Sayeed led PDP-BJP government, two MPs, two general secretary and Political Advisor to the PDP president,' a senior PDP leader said. It will be the first political interaction between Mehbooba and her party leaders after her father and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed died on January 7. 'Mehbooba will review the performance of 10 months of the PDP-BJP government. She will seek her party leaders' views whether the party should go for re-negotiation of Agenda of Alliance or put some conditions for the BJP to adhere to before forming the new government,' the party leader said, adding, 'In short the meeting will set the process for government formation,' he said. He said Governor's Rule would continue for some time, as 'even if talks on government formation gain momentum in the coming days, the government can only be formed by the end of this month or in the first week of February.' The core group meeting comes two days after Union Finance Secretary R P Watal met Mehbooba in Srinagar and reportedly assured her of the central government's commitment on some issues.