February 2016 News

Governor Calls PDP, BJP Chiefs Today On Govt Formation

1 February 2016
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: As Governor's Rule is about to complete a month next week, Governor NN Vohra with a view to end political stalemate in the State has called presidents of two former coalition partners-PDP and BJP to meet him at the Raj Bhawan here tomorrow afternoon to clear their stand on formation of new Government in the State, which had ceased to exist on January 7 with the death of then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. In a related development, the BJP Core Group met here this morning to devise party's strategy before meeting with the Governor. After about two hours long Core Group meeting, held at the residence of BJP general secretary (organization) Ashok Koul, a three members BJP delegation left for New Delhi to meet the party high command including national president Amit Shah for consultations. The delegation comprised Sat Sharma, State president, Dr Nirmal Singh, former Deputy Chief Minister and Jugal Kishore Sharma, Lok Sabha member from Jammu-Poonch seat. They met Shah at his residence in New Delhi at 9:30 pm and discussed the party stand to be taken during party president's meeting with the Governor tomorrow. The BJP leaders were joined by Ram Madhav, national general secretary. Insiders said the BJP decided that the Centre had fully supported the J&K Government and will continue to do that. They reiterated their commitment to the 'Agenda of Alliance' on the basis of which the coalition was formed. Official sources told the Excelsior that the Raj Bhavan has faxed two separate letters to PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and BJP president Sat Sharma inviting them to meet Governor NN Vohra tomorrow afternoon and explain their strategy on formation of next Government in the State, which was without an elected Government since January 7 this year. Governor NN Vohra had to impose his Rule in the State on January 8. While Mehbooba Mufti has been invited for meeting the Governor at 4.30 pm, Sat Sharma was asked to call on Vohra at 6 pm. Top leaders of PDP and BJP confirmed that they have been appointed for meeting with the Governor and said they would visit the Raj Bhavan and brief the Governor on their stand. Ram Madhav, while reaffirming BJP's commitment to Agenda of Alliance said the Governor had invited them for talks on Government formation and 'we will apprise the Governor of our position tomorrow.' Going to attend a late night meeting at party president Amit Shah's residence, Madhav said, he along with Legislature Party leader Nirmal Singh, State BJP President Sat Sharma, and former State party chief Jugal Kishore Sharma will apprise the Central leadership of the developments and discuss the future plans. Asked if PDP had put forth any conditions on Government formation, he said, 'No conditions have been set before us.' 'The only issue before us is the effective implementation of the Common Minimum Programme. We are all committed to implementing the Common Minimum Programme from day one itself,' he said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had chalked out an Agenda of Alliance to take the state forward on the path of speedy development and provide effective governance. 'We will continue to strive to do so in future. That is our wish and aim,' he said, adding the party leaders will talk to PDP leaders on the path forward. Party sources said it was the PDP that has to take call on formation of the Government and BJP's support to the PDP will continue. The PDP and BJP had formed Government in the State on March 1, 2015 but hardly had it completed 10 months and a week that Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed passed away. The Council of Ministry ceased to exist in the State on January 8. Describing as a step forward in breaking the political stalemate in the State and explore possibilities for installation of newly elected Government the decision taken by the Governor to call State presidents of PDP and BJP tomorrow, sources said things would come out to considerable extent as leaders of both the parties would drop clear hints on their next move (on giving the State a duly elected Government). On January 9 also before imposition of Governor's Rule in the State, the Governor had written letters to the State presidents of PDP and BJP, which were also two largest parties in the Assembly, to clear their stand. However, both the parties had sought time. Political observers were of the view that the Governor has presently called the presidents of only two political parties to elicit their views on the Government formation as they together enjoyed majority in the Assembly and had earlier ruled the State for a little over 10 months. However, the possibility of the Governor meeting presidents of other political parties and legislators was not ruled out if the stalemate persisted. 'The PDP and BJP were expected to make their stand clear to much extent when their leaders meet the Governor tomorrow afternoon,' sources said, adding that Vohra wanted to explore all possibilities to see political formation rule the State to end the Governor's Rule. PDP, which had 28 MLAs plus one ally (Bakir Hussain Rizvi, Independent MLA from Zanskar) in the Assembly, has been left with 27 seats after the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who represented Anantnag Assembly seat. BJP has 25 seats plus three allies (two from Sajjad Lone's People's Conference and one an Independent Pawan Gupta from Udhampur). Opposition National Conference has 15 seats followed by Congress 12 and CPM one. Two other Independent MLAs are Hakim Mohammad Yasin (Khansaheb) and Engineer Abdul Rashid (Langate). The State Assembly has strength of 87 with Anantnag as vacant seat. Two women are nominated MLAs. In the wake of these developments, the state BJP's Core Group met at the residence of BJP general secretary (organization) Ashok Koul here for about two hours and held deliberations on yesterday's PDP meeting in which the party has raised certain issues on PDP-BJP alliance. The Core Group meeting was attended among others by Sat Sharma CA, State party president, Kavinder Gupta, Dr Nirmal Singh, Bali Bhagat, Ashok Koul, Jugal Kishore Sharma and Shamsher Singh Manhas, both MPs, Ashok Khajuria, MLC, Narinder Singh, Rajiv Jasrotia and Munish Sharma among others. It deliberated in detail the yesterday's statement of the PDP issued after Mehbooba Mufti's meeting with senior leaders in Srinagar and other aspects of present political situation in the State. The Core Group reiterated that it will stick to the 'Agenda of Alliance' as it had been stamped by top leadership of the two parties (PDP and BJP). Earlier after the Core Group meeting here, which discussed Mehbooba's statement, BJP leaders said there was 'no concrete' demand or condition from PDP but their party was committed to the implementation of 'Agenda of Alliance' and address any issues that the ally may have. 'In the past 10 months, the development which has taken place was not seen in the past 60 years. Agenda of Alliance is the vision of Narendra Modi and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to take Jammu and Kashmir forward. If you think the development was slow, then we will make sure that it is speeded up,' Sat Sharma CA told reporters after the meeting. Asked if BJP was ready for fresh polls, Sharma said 'it would be premature to speak about the issue'. On reports that PDP has made certain demands like transfer of power projects to the State, Sharma said, 'PDP might have said it but we have not received anything from them in writingWe will discuss with the Centre and if any such issue comes up, we will tell you for sure.' To queries about Mehbooba's concerns and demands on the issue of implementation of Agenda of Alliance, he said, 'No condition has come to us, nobody has discussed anything with us till now. If we get anything in concrete, we will discuss on it. Our condition is only the Agenda of Alliance. 'We will take it forward with full spirit and implement it in the six years' period and make sure that we go a step further then what is written in this Agenda of Alliance.' BJP MP from Jammu Jugal Kishore Sharma said any further step would be taken after discussions between the State and the Central leaderships. Asked how long the Government formation process could take, he said 'nothing can be said in this regard'. Sharma said the party yesterday received a letter from the Governor, in which he invited them for a meeting at 6 PM tomorrow. PTI adds: National Conference leader Dr Farooq Abdullah today said if PDP is not ready to form the Government, fresh elections should be held. 'If PDP is not ready to form the Government, then the only option is Call for fresh polls. No other party is ready to form Government with them and if PDP also wants the same, then it is time they call for fresh polls. This is what should be done in a democracy,' he said. 'We have only 15 MLAs and are in no capacity to form a Government,' Dr Abdullah said.