As BJP general secretary Ram Madhav gets ready to visit Srinagar to hold talks with PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti to try and break the logjam on government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, the state BJP is learnt to have opposed any major climbdown.
Sources said Ram Madhav could ask her to come to Delhi before the Budget session and discuss her demands with BJP chief Amit Shah. A meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi may also be offered.
Ram Madhav could also assure her that there would be something in the Budget for the state since the PDP was not very enthused with the financial package announced by the Prime Minister last November.
Sources in the state BJP, including two who were ministers in the government of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, told The Indian Express that most party MLAs, including former ministers, have “categorically” told the Central leadership that “too much appeasement” of the PDP will leave the Jammu-centric BJP open to the charge of buckling under pressure.
“Ever since we joined hands with the PDP in national interest, our stock among our core voters has only gone down. While the PDP has its own problems, our problems aren’t less. We have categorically told our national leadership that too much appeasement of the PDP will send a very negative signal in the Jammu region and weaken us further. Rather than accepting all her (Mehbooba Mufti’s) demands, it would be better if we sat in the Opposition,” a sitting MLA said.
BJP leaders said that, as a precondition for forming the next government, Mehbooba Mufti has demanded, among other things, a written assurance from the central leadership that the agenda for governance will be implemented in toto.
She has also asked for an immediate announcement on revoking the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from the peaceful districts of the state, initiation of the process of handing back two hydel projects from the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) to the state government, and a public announcement that there will be no tinkering with Article 370 which grants special status to the state.
Though local BJP leaders resent that the PDP is trying to have its way, the central leadership is keen that the two parties form the next government in the state.