Before the Peoples Democratic Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party finally join hands in Jammu and Kashmir, PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Friday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Sayeed will be sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state on Sunday.
After two months of Assembly election results where the state witnessed a fractured mandate, the PDP and the BJP have ironed out their differences and reached a consensus on a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) that will form the basis of their unique coalition government in the state.
Sayeed’s meeting with Modi is the final step in his return as the state’s Chief Minister at the head of the coalition that will mark the first time ever for the BJP to be in power in the sensitive state.
Refusing to talk about the understanding on contentious issues like Article 370 which gives special status to the state, Sayeed said, “I won’t talk on the issues. The CMP will come in black and white and the entire public of the country will see what we are doing.” It is expected that Sayeed will invite Modi for the swearing-in function in Jammu.
In Jammu, PDP chief spokesman Naeem Akhtar expressed hope that the announcement of the date of government formation will be made in New Delhi after the meeting between the Prime Minister and the PDP patron.
“He will also meet BJP chief Amit Shah to put a seal on the modalities and formalities to form the government in Jammu and Kashmir,” Akhtar said. He also said that all the hurdles over the contentious issues between the two parties were resolved before the meeting between the two leaders was fixed.
“All the bottlenecks were resolved and now Mufti Sahab is in New Delhi to seal the deal with BJP top leadership over the formation of government in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
The BJP, too, has expressed hope that a formal announcement on the formation of the government will be made after the meeting of the top leadership of both the parties. “Now that the top leadership of the two parties will be meeting in New Delhi, we are hopeful that a formal announcement on the date of the formation of the government in Jammu and Kashmir is made,” senior BJP leader and prospective deputy Chief Minister of the state Dr Nirmal Singh said.
Asked to comment on the contentious issues that were creating hurdles in the formation of the government, Singh said, “Now that the two leaders are meeting I am sure that all the hurdles might have been cleared.”
Mufti has said that the differences with BJP over the contentious issues like Article 370 and AFSPA have been “ironed out” in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP). “Please wait for some more time. The differences have been ironed out and everything will be clear in the CMP,” Mufti had said. He had also termed the coalition between PDP and BJP as an historic opportunity to end the decades old mistrust between the two regions of the state.
“I see the PDP-BJP coalition as an historic opportunity to end the decades of mistrust between Kashmir and Jammu regions of the state,” he had said.
The National conference with its 15 members had offered its support to PDP to form the government in the state which was rejected by PDP. Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad too had floated the idea of a grand alliance between Congress, National Conference and PDP to keep away what he termed as “communal forces” away; however Azad’s idea too was rejected by PDP.