Govt formation may take some more time

Union Minister for Roads and Surface Transport Nitin Gadkari and Dr Nirmal Singh with Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar on Sunday.
Union Minister for Roads and Surface Transport Nitin Gadkari and Dr Nirmal Singh with Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar on Sunday.

Sanjeev Pargal/Fayaz Bukhari

JAMMU/SRINAGAR, Jan 10: Government formation in Jammu and Kashmir was expected to take some more time. Clear indications to this effect emerged during about 20 minutes discussions between Union Surface and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, joined by top leaders of State BJP, and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti at latter’s Fairview residence at Gupkar, Srinagar this afternoon.
Gadkari, who was accompanied by BJP leaders Dr Nirmal Singh, Sat Sharma, CA, State president and Shamsher Singh Manhas, MP, met Mehbooba at her residence after joining ‘congregational fateha’ of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed at Bijbehara.
BJP leaders said there were no talks on formation of new Government in the State during the meeting between Gadkari and Mehbooba as none of them took up the issue first.
“Mehbooba seemed to be in shock and mourning. Though she referred to the Central support to Mufti Sayeed and the State Government during his 10 months long tenure, she made no mention of an immediate Government formation,’’ they added.
At the same time, they pointed out, the BJP too was not in a hurry and preferred silence (on the Government formation) during meeting between Gadkari and Mehbooba Mufti.
“The new arrangement will take time. Neither PDP nor BJP is in a hurry. Let Mehbooba Mufti settle down first. Moreover, the Governor Rule has been imposed and it can go on for few days,’’ they said.
The BJP leaders were, however, confident that there will be a PDP-BJP Government in place and described Congress efforts to “win over’’ Mehbooba Mufti and the PDP as “nothing but frustration’’ after losing power in the State.
According to BJP leaders, Mehbooba Mufti said Mufti Sayeed had taken up some very good projects for the State and the Government of India had also helped a lot in implementation of various schemes. She hoped that the Centre would continue to support the State, they added.
Before returning to New Delhi, Gadkari told reporters that Mufti had a dream for Jammu and Kashmir, which included tourism, development and building of infrastructure among other things.
“We will try to fulfill all the assurances given to Mufti Sayeed on Jammu and Kashmir,’’ he added.
“It’s not time to talk politics. I have come here to convey condolences to Mehbooba Mufti on behalf of the Central Government,’’ he added.
On the other, AICC (I) president Sonia Gandhi also had about 20 minutes meeting with Mehbooba Mufti and Mufti’s other family members including wife and two daughters.
Sonia was accompanied by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and other Congress leaders including Ambika Soni, Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz and PCC (I) chief GA Mir.
Party leaders said Sonia Gandhi recollected her association with the Mufti family. Mehbooba briefed Sonia about illness of her father.
The Congress leaders said they were not initiating any step on their own on Government formation and would rather wait and watch as to how the things unfold between PDP and BJP.
Sonia Gandhi described Mufti Sayeed as a fine administrator who reflected the best of Indian values rooted in respect for diversity and anchored in tolerance.
She said the former Chief Minister symbolised the very best of human values.
The Congress president described Mufti as “caring, calm and compassionate under the greatest pressures, reaching out to and engaging with everybody, bringing people together and free of prejudice.”
In a condolence letter handed over to Mehbooba, Sonia said: “Mufti Saheb cut across party boundaries. He was beyond party affiliations. He belonged to everybody … he reflected the very best of Indian values rooted in a respect for diversity and anchored in tolerance and accommodation.”
Congress president said Mufti was a fine administrator, committed to the welfare of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “As Chief Minister in 2002, he pledged himself to providing what he used to call the ‘healing touch’. He faced many challenges. But such was the force of his personality and such was the confidence that he evoked across different sections of society that he was able to confront them successfully and fulfill the promises he had made”, she said.
Sonia said “Mufti Saheb left us all too suddenly”. She said Mufti will live in “our individual and collective memories. He will live as an example of the finest composite traditions of Jammu and Kashmir and the country”.
Azad said that people should not read politics while the Congress leaders offer condolence to Mehbooba Mufti after the demise of her father.
“We came here to offer condolence to Mehbooba Mufti. No politics should be read out of it. Mehbooba ji and her party know it (about Government formation),” Azad told reporters in Srinagar.


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