February 2016 News

Fate Of PDP-BJP Alliance Rests On Budget Doles

9 February 2016
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Dinesh Manhotra and Vikram Sharma

Jammu: The Sangh Parivar has decided to give more time to the Peoples Democratic Party to take a decision on restitching the alliance with the BJP as their backchannel meetings are yielding encouraging results. Although it was earlier decided that the final decision on forming the government with the PDP would be taken at a meeting on February 10 in Delhi, the outcome of the recent informal meetings has renewed chances of breaking the impasse. Sources said that at the backchannel meetings, which started a couple of days ago, leaders of both parties were unanimous in finding a 'way out' to protect each other's interests. 'In a bid to placate the annoyed coalition partner, the BJP leadership has promised to incorporate vital demands of the PDP in the forthcoming Union Budget while projecting it as a routine exercise,' a source said. Sources said the BJP leadership was not averse to accepting some of the demands of the PDP but the former was apprehensive that any attempt by the latter to draw political mileage out of these demands in the Valley would prove counter-productive for it in other parts of the country. The PDP wants the Central government to make some concessions on its Kashmir-centric political agenda, including relaxation in the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act, a demand the BJP has rejected in the past. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti is pushing for more financial assistance to the state from the Centre. 'Instead of accepting these demands at this point of time, the party will incorporate all such issues in the forthcoming Budget provided the PDP also reciprocates in a mature manner,' a source said, adding that the Union Budget will decide the fate of the PDP-BJP coalition in J&K. Sources said the February 10 meeting in Delhi will be attended by top leaders of the RSS and BJP to discuss the prevailing political situation in J&K. The meeting will discuss the outcome of the backchannel meetings with the PDP. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav is likely to meet PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti next week to make fresh efforts to break the impasse. Madhav, who had played a key role in forging an alliance with the PDP, may meet her after the 40-day mourning period following Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's death ends next week. Meanwhile, state BJP president Sat Sharma and former Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh rushed to New Delhi today to meet the top brass for another discussion on government formation. The state leaders are also scheduled to attend meetings with the RSS cadre. They are expected to return on February 12, the day the BJP will be meeting Governor NN Vohra. The party had sought 10 days from the Governor on February 2 to resolve the government formation issue.