February 2016 News

BJP Turns Down Mehbooba's Demand Of Lifting AFSPA

18 February 2016
Kashmir Observer

Srinagar: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will not lift the contentious Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from Jammu and Kashmir to break the stalemate over government formation in the state, said a report on Thursday. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav arrived here last evening to meet Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti in order to end the deadlock. Earlier, sources disclosed that Madhav had conveyed to Mufti the Centre's willingness to lift AFSPA on a trial basis from Jammu and Kashmir. The six-week political impasse in Jammu and Kashmir, however, appeared to be ending with BJP showing its willingness to accept PDP's demand for time-bound implementation of certain elements of common programme while saying that both sides are 'positive' on continuing the alliance. Madhav hoped that the alliance formed in March last year would continue on the basis of 'previous arrangement'. 'Talks were positive. Both parties are positive that the state will benefit by continuing with the arrangement which guided our 8-9 month old government. We can give a stable government with the same arrangement. This view is on both side... I hope, yes, there will be continuation of previous arrangement,' he told reporters here. He insisted that the coalition will work on the basis of 'Agenda of Alliance' firmed up between the two parties last year and asserted that 'there will be no dilution' or 'any new addition' in it. At the same time, he said BJP is willing to discuss bringing into a 'timeline' a 'few issues' which have found a mention in the alliance's Common Minimum Programme, implying readiness to accept Mehbooba's demand in this regard. 'If some issues, which are a part of Agenda of Alliance, are to be brought under a timeline, then the two parties can surely discuss them...But the government formation process should based on the Agenda of Alliance. This is what I have told Mehboobaji,' he said, while noting that this was the first detailed discussion between the two parties over the government formation. He said he had conveyed to her that the government under her late father was running well on the basis of the Common Minimum Programme and BJP wanted the arrangement to continue. The two leaders decided to 'speed up' work on a few issues and put them under a 'timeline', he said without elaborating. There will be more clarity after the meeting of PDP leaders with BJP leadership, Madhav added.