PDP-BJP Talks Salvaged, Breakthrough Imminent

Shah Abbas

SRINAGAR

Talks between the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Bhartya Janta Party (BJP) have reached near-final stage and may pave way for J&K to have a government later this month. Results of the assembly elections were out on December 23 last year.

“There is visible progress in talks between the two parties and all the contentious issues about the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) have been almost resolved,” they said.

In Jammu, PDP spokesman, however, denied any development in the talks on government formation with BJP. “Unless issues are settled there can be no progress,” Naeem Akhtar said. When asked about the time required for the purpose Akhatr said, “It is not possible.”

Talks on an alliance between PDP and BJP for government formation were reported to be running into rough weather over issues like Article 370 and AFSPA as both sides remained stuck to their stance.

The BJP, which has 25 MLAs, according to sources, was finding it hard to give a written assurance on not raking up the issue of Article 370, which gives special status to the state. However, they said, “Both the parties have settled the issues and are ready to form a coalition.”

Mufti has called the proposed coalition with the saffron party as “a paradigm shift” for BJP but “a historical opportunity” for his party. In an interview to the Times of India, Mufti said, “For me, it’s not a dilemma, it’s an opportunity.”

Mufti said, “If it (PDP-BJP coalition) doesn’t happen, the country loses a chance and we lose a chance to leave something for history.”

Talking about the sticking points Mufti said, “Article 370 is fundamental. Abrogation of Article 370 would not be legal because it is the legal basis of Kashmir’s accession to India. If you remove 370, you remove accession and India doesn’t have a de jure connection with Kashmir.”

Talking about the reasons of long time taken in the government formation Mufti said, “I didn’t get a mandate like Kejriwal. I got a fractured mandate…….. Let the negotiations carry on because we must have a mutually agreed CMP.

PDP wanted New Delhi reconciliation with Pakistan, engagement with Hurriyat Conference and security of Article 370, Repeal or amendment in the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the return of hydel plants at Dul Hasti and Sallal.

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