Jammu and Kashmir may have a democratically elected government soon as both the Peoples Democratic Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party have arrived at a broad understanding over the issue of government formation in the sensitive border state.
Significantly, indications about it came from senior leaders of both parties during their separate meetings with State Governor N N Vohra at Raj Bhawan here during the day. The BJP’s national general secretary (organization) Ram Madhav had nearly half an hour long meeting with Vohra in the afternoon. Madhav was accompanied by party’s state president and MP from Jammu-Poonch constituency, Jugal Kishore Sharma, and newly elected MLA from Billawar Dr Nirmal Singh who also happens to be party’s national executive member.
Later, senior PDP leader and MLA from Rajpora, Dr Haseeb Drabu who has been authorized by the party to hold talks with BJP on government formation also met the Governor.
Though both sides remained tight lipped over the deliberations having taken place between their respective leaders and the Governor, sources said that these were confined to political situation vis a vis government formation in the state. The meetings assumed significance as both Madhav and Drabu have been authorized by their respective party high command to hold talks with each other on government formation in the state.
Sources said that both the respective party leaders apprised the Governor that their talks have reached a formal stage where almost all the issues between them stand sorted out. During the meeting, Governor told one of the party delegation that he too wanted an early government formation in the state so that it starts working soon.
The PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had only last week admitted that track-II talks between his party and the BJP were in progress. Pointing out that while people gave mandate to PDP in the Valley and BJP in Jammu region, Mufti said that “if my shaking hands with them (BJP) will benefit the state, I will do that.”
Prior to it, Minister of State in the PMO Dr Jitendra Singh had admitted that some authorized leaders from both the BJP and PDP were in touch with each over issue of government formation. He, however, had refused to divulge details saying that it would create problems for “authorised” leaders holding talks on the matter.
In the hung Legislative Assembly, PDP has 28 members, closely followed by BJP (25), NC (15), Congess (12) and others (7). Though Congress and NC had offered support to PDP for government formation, the latter preferred BJP as it would amount to defeating the mandate of the people who had defeated both these parties during the 2014 assembly elections.
An indication of their having reached a broad understanding over government formation became evident recently when both the PDP and BJP decided to contest only two Rajya Sabha seats each so as to avoid fielding candidates against each other during elections being held on February 7.
The Jammu Kashmir is under Governor rule since early this month. It was imposed in the state 11 days ahead of the deadline given by Vohra to both the PDP and BJP for government formation as National Conference president Omar Abdullah has declined to continue as caretaker chief minister until the formation of next government.