February 2016 News

BJP 'agrees' To Meet PDP's 3 Demands To End J-K Deadlock

20 February 2016
The Hindustan Times
Kumar Uttam

New Delhi: The deadlock over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir may end next week with the BJP and PDP narrowing their differences on certain contentious issues. Sources privy to the deliberations told HT that the BJP has agreed to positively consider three demands of the PDP, including smart city status to Srinagar. PDP emissary Haseeb Drabu, finance minister in the previous government, held a closed door meeting with BJP chief Amit Shah in Delhi last evening to discuss implementation of some of the demands of Mehbooba Mufti, who will take over as CM in case the two sides decide to form government. Restricting of relief package for Jammu and Kashmir besides return of two NHPC power projects to the state government was also discussed between Shah and Drabu, sources said. 'Lifting of AFSPA was not discussed in this meeting,' the source claimed. The BJP considers the three demands put forth by the PDP as doable and is working out the modalities to execute them. Center may provide monetary assistance to a future state government to raise stakes in the two power projects, effectively giving it control of them. New Delhi will also loosen its purse strings to provide more money under the flood relief package that prime minister has earlier announced. A smart city status for Kashmir is also a certainty. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav is negotiating government formation with Mehbooba mufti in Kashmir and will return to Delhi tomorrow with a clearer picture. 'We hope the deadlock to end in a couple of days from now. As and when the new government takes over, it will discuss with New Delhi other issues, including a timeline for the implementation of the promises made in the common minimum programme,' a BJP leader said. J-K has slipped into a state of political uncertainty following death of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7 and the subsequent refusal by Mehbooba to take over.