PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, who has been in the national capital since last weekend met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday as her party and BJP try to narrow differences over a Common Minimum Programme(CMP) for formation of a government in Jammu and Kashmir.
The meeting, which was held away from media glare, took place at the residence of Jaitley, who along with another senior party leader Arun Singh, has been authorised by the BJP to work out ways to form an alliance with either of the regional parties – National Conference and PDP – in the state.
The state saw a fractured mandate in the December 23 elections which saw PDP emerging as single largest party with 28 MLAs, 16 short of magic number of 44 in the 87-member Assembly. BJP bagged 25 seats followed by National Conference with 15 and Congress (12).
The meeting took place amid reports that RSS has raised questions over BJP reportedly agreeing with PDP on the issue of Article 370 of the Constitution that granted special status for J and K.
It was not immediately known what transpired between Jaitley and Mehbooba as both leaders maintained a studied silence especially after RSS stepped up its opposition to any dilution of BJP’s stand on Article 370 or the contentious Armed Forces Special Powers Act(AFSPA).
PDP spokesman Naeem Akhtar said he was not aware about the Jaitley-Mehbooba meeting. PDP MLA Haseeb Drabu also had a meeting with Jaitley.
BJP after having shown inclination for formation of the government was reportedly not amenable to the idea of giving any written assurance to PDP that it will not rake up the issue of Article 370.
RSS has raised questions as to what the state has gained from a separate Constitution and a Flag, a statement which left the PDP leadership red-faced and gave a handle to rival National Conference which said that “PDP will stoop down to any level for coming to power”.
The massive defeat of BJP in the Delhi Assembly elections has also led the central party leadership to address the concerns of the state unit leaders.
The state unit BJP leaders have opposed any surrender by the party on Article 370, AFSPA and rehabilitation of West Pakistan Refugees as otherwise the base of the party will be eroded in Jammu region, which returned 25 out of the 37 MLAs from there for the Saffron party.