BJP general secretary Ram Madhav on Wednesday evening met Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar. And with the BJP taking the first steps to end the logjam over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, the next few days are crucial for the fate of the alliance.
Madhav, who had negotiated the alliance between the two political parties last year, arrived at the Muftis’ Fairview residence in Srinagar around 6.30 p.m. The meeting between Mehbooba Mufti and Madhav lasted for close to an hour. Madhav was accompanied by another person whose face was covered with a shawl.
“The meeting was due for some time now. We believe that he (Madhav) has just come with a message from the top leaders (Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah),” a PDP leader told The Indian Express. “The results are expected soon”.
Madhav’s visit to Srinagar was kept confidential both by the BJP and the PDP.
Sources said even top PDP leaders learnt about the meeting only after Madhav landed in Srinagar. Some of the top party leaders who advise Mehbooba on government formation were reportedly taken by surprise, with most of them out of the town when Madhav arrived.
The visit is the first formal step taken by the BJP leadership towards government formation in Jammu and Kashmir after Mehbooba Mufti put forward certain conditions before taking over as the chief minister.
With the onset of formal talks between the two alliance partners, the coming week is seen as crucial for government formation. PDP sources said any breakthrough will depend on the assurances from the BJP leadership and the Centre on the pre-conditions set by Mehbooba.
“As far as government formation is concerned, we have entered into a crucial phase,” said a PDP leader, adding, “I think, it would be decided in a week’s time whether we form the government with them (BJP) or not. It will all depend on how the BJP reacts to our demands.”
An official posted at the Mufti residence told The Indian Express that Madhav and his associate came out smiling after the meeting. However, Mehbooba didn’t come out of her house, he said. Madhav refused to talk to the waiting media and rushed to his vehicle.