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SAGA CORNER

Prospects Bright for Government Formation in Jammu-&-Kashmir

BJPPDP.pngUncertainty over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to end over the next couple of weeks or so as prospects of a BJP-PDP government taking over reins of the State have revived. First, a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti in the Capital went off well, signaling that the deadlock which has persisted in the wake of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s death this January may get over soon. After meeting the Prime Minister, Mehbooba had described the meeting as “”very positive and good in addressing issues pertaining to the people of the state.”” In the past, she had talked about confidence building measures which should be taken by the Centre in the State.

Second, making all right noises Mehbooba Mufti, MP and daughter of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who has the responsibility of taking her father’s legacy forward, is scheduled to meet PDP legislators in Srinagar on Thursday where some firm contours about the new government are likely to take shape. Though Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that PDP-BJP alliance had polarized people in Jammu region and Kashmir Valley, he favoured taking the political process ahead and attend to some immediate issues which the PDP had been raising. “”It includes engaging all stakeholders and improving ties with Pakistan,”” he told journalists at a reception held on Wednesday evening at Pakistan High Commission to mark the National Day of Pakistan. The reception was attended by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar. Last year, Minister of State for Overseas Affairs V. K. Singh’s presence at the same event had created a controversy.

Mr. Javadekar was at the reception for about 15 minutes. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that he would have liked the present Modi government to follow in the footsteps of the Vajpayee government and its policy towards Kashmir but regretted that the current BJP-led government had hardened its position. The Mirwaiz said the Kashmir issue was a political issue and all parties should be engaged to resolve it politically. During his visit to Kashmir in 2003, the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee  had said that his government was open to hold talks with separatists on Kashmir “”within the ambit of Insaniyat.”” Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, was also present and criticized the hardened attitude of the Modi government towards Kashmir. All eyes will be on Thursday’s meeting of PDP legislators in Srinagar where Mehbooba might announce the future course of action.

If the legislators elect Mehbooba as their leader, it will pave the way for the first woman Chief Minister of the State to take oath. Only a few days ago, she had met the BJP President Amit Shah in the Capital and hit a roadblock. Earlier, at a party briefing Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had described Mehbooba’s meeting with the Prime Minister as constructive and good. Only two days ago, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had indicated that all was not lost, saying that the BJP was committed to the agenda of alliance. With 27 MLAs (down from 28 after Sayeed’s death), in the 87-member assembly, PDP is the single largest party. The BJP has 25. The National Conference has 15 and the Congress 12. Other parties have 7 members.”

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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