Deal is On

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After the debacle in Delhi polls, BJP will be more than interested to agree on PDP’s ‘Common Minimum Programme’ and form the government in Indian’s Muslim-majority state. The PDP-BJP structured dialogue is likely to start next week and the new government expectedly would be in place by February 22, reports  Syed Asma

Rajya Sabha wining candidates.

Rajya Sabha wining candidates.

Finally the dates are out! After a series of informal and formal interactions, of 55 days, the two parties – PDP and BJP are yet again meeting to finalize the deal. Jammu and Kashmir is likely to get a formal government by February 22, 2015.

PDP is officially sending its 6-member team to finalize the agreement formally. The PDP team is headed by former Deputy Chief Minister and MP Muzaffar Hussain Beig. He will be accompanied by MP Tariq Hameed Karra and MLC Nayeem Akhter; MLAs Altaf Bukhari and Dr Haseeb Drabu. Vikramadatiya Singh, Dr Karan Singh’s son, is also accompanying as one of the members.

The BJP is likely to be represented by Dr Jitendra Singh, Dr Nirmal Singh, Ch Lal Singh, Jugal Kishore Sharma, Bali Bhagat and Ashok Koul. The party will be led by BJP general secretary, Ram Madhav who joined the folks after being back from London.

Ahead of the meeting with PDP the Sangh Parivar is likely to meet Mohan Bhagwat, the RSS chief. Though, the meeting would largely discuss the Delhi debacle but Jammu and Kashmir’s government formation would also be discussed, sources say.

After the core members are done with settling at the ‘Common Minimum Programme’ (CMP), the PDP Patron Mufti Muhammed Sayeed will be flying to New Delhi to meet PM Narendra Modi for the formal final tie-up.

Sources say that PDP winning the majority, 28 seats, has made the top position non-negotiable. Mufti Sayeed, 78 year-old, will be leading the entire term and BJP is expected to field Dr Nirmal Singh as Deputy to Mufti.

Calling this (BJP and PDP tie-up) a difficult relationship, a senior PDP leader says that Delhi results will not have much impact on the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir as both the parties are committed.

“It is not an ideological handshake but a situational compulsion,” he says.

PDP, the single largest party in Jammu and Kashmir took more than 50 days in identifying the basic issues to negotiate on. Nayeem Akhter, the spokesperson and an MLC has told a Delhi based newspaper, “Our issues are clear. We have to ensure the distinct nature of J&K’s constitutional relationship remains intact respectfully and the legal infrastructure that evolved over the years to manage a peculiar situation is undone.”

The party leadership says it is also keen to initiate talks with Pakistan and would be interested to engage with the region’s separatists. Mufti lately made it clear that his demand for initiating talks with Pakistan should not be mistaken as an intervention in foreign policy but should be seen as an option to help Kashmir consolidating the gains made over the years.

PDP since long has been talking about proper independent management of the state’s limited natural resources. “We have a developmental agenda that envisages rebuilding of flood devastated Kashmir, managing better employment for the educated lot and state’s energy misery must come to end,” the PDP spokesperson has reportedly said.

Pertinently, party is seeking implementation of the Dr C Rangarajan recommendations on power infrastructure that parties earlier in power initiated but could not deliver.

The developmental part of CMP are said to be “exciting” and would likely be implemented in next six years. The party leadership say they are interested to take LoC trade and travel to next level, especially on infrastructure and procedures.

With Jammu and Kashmir under governor rule for most of the last 50-odd days, the pressure is mounting on PDP to form the government. Even former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah enjoying his position in the opposition could not resist and twitted: “Finally dear @BJP4India & @jkpdp can we PLEASE get a Govt in J&K now? You said wait for Delhi & we waited. Now we don’t want to wait longer.”

The two largest parties in the state in the 87 member house with 28 seats for PDP and 25 for BJP have already entered into an (informal) relationship during the Rajya Sabha elections. Of the four seats, two were taken by PDP and one each went to Congress – in alliance with NC, and BJP.

Now the two parties are again heading for another election on March 2 to fill the 11 berths of the 36-member legislative council. Nominations will be filed by February 18. Soon after, the government will have to nominate eight members. A joint strategy can help BJP-PDP to win the maximum seats and that is yet another reason for the two parties to upgrade the (informal) relationship into a formal alliance.

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