The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) might have responded positively to the “initiatives” of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in joining hands to form a government in Jammu and Kashmir, but it is keeping other options open.
The party will continue its informal discussions with the PDP and also keep channels open for negotiations with the NC. “The picture will be clearer only after Makar Sankranti,” said a BJP leader.
BJP sources said the party has a number of options. It could form an alliance with the PDP with an agreement on rotation of chief ministership and let the PDP have the first chance. It might also choose a BJP CM first and let PDP leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed be the convenor of the coalition with some powers. The BJP could also forge a coalition with the NC or go for President’s Rule.
A meeting at BJP chief Amit Shah’s residence Monday saw discussions on the various options. While a section of the party is concerned about “repercussions” of such an alliance in Jammu region, the party leadership is believed to have explained the “need for the party to be in power” in the state.
“State leaders have been told that there is no need to worry about the organisation’s growth. Our leaders can go to the area where the party has not been able to make a mark and work for its development. This will ultimately go in favour of the par”y,” said a party leader.
Some BJP leaders also pointed out that the party may not be able to make any compromise on issues like AFSPA.
The BJP leaders said that if a deal is struck with PDP, there will be a common minimum programme on good governance for the coalition to go ahead.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav said: “There has been an initiative from PDP’s side. Keeping in mind the mandate in Jammu and Kashmir, we have decided to take forward the talks.”
Madhav added that the views of J&K unit leaders were taken during the meeting.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh, BJP state unit president Jugal Kishore Sharma and BJP leaders in J&K Nirmal Singh and Bali Bhagat were present at the meeting.
Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Arun Jaitley conceded that it was “very difficult” for political parties to give up their ideological positions but hinted that controversial issues could be set aside.
With PTI inputs