Modi-Mehbooba meet clears decks for revival of PDP-BJP Govt

PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday. (UNI)
PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday. (UNI)

Neeraj Rohmetra

JAMMU, Mar 22: Decks appeared to have been cleared for formation of PDP-BJP coalition Government again in Jammu and Kashmir after a gap of about two and half months following “positive meeting” between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti at 7 Race Course Road, New Delhi this morning in which the Prime Minister was reported to have assured Ms Mufti that her concerns on ‘Agenda of Alliance’ would be adequately and positively addressed after formation of the Government.
Insiders in PDP and BJP, who had ruled the State for a little over 10 months before their Government ceased to exist on January 7 due to the death of then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, told the Excelsior that Modi-Mehbooba meeting that lasted over 35 minutes was very “positive” and could lead to revival of the PDP-BJP coalition Government after two and half months in the State, which is  under Governor’s Rule since January 8 this year.
Insiders said that Mehbooba Mufti was likely to be elected as the PDP Legislature Party leaders in the LP meeting called by her at her FairView residence at Srinagar at 4 pm on March 24. The PDP presently has 27 MLAs as Anantnag Assembly seat had fallen vacant after the death of Mufti Sayeed.
“The process for Government formation could be set in motion only after Mehbooba was elected as the Legislature Party leader of the PDP, which was mandatory for submission of letter to Governor NN Vohra before staking claim to form the Government,” sources said, adding the BJP would submit their letter of support after this.
Though there was no official word from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), sources said Modi has assured Central Government’s full support to PDP-BJP coalition Government and the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ on which the Government had been formed on March 1, 2015.
“The Prime Minister was very positive to needs and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir for whom he had announced whopping Rs 80,000 crores worth package on November 7 last year,” sources pointed out.
This was first meeting between Narendra Modi and Mehbooba Mufti after the death of Mufti Sayeed, which was aimed at ending political stalemate in Jammu and Kashmir, which prevailed after the death of Sayeed on January 7 as Mehbooba Mufti wanted an assurance on ‘forward movement’ on the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ as she felt that there was not much progress on this during 10 months of PDP-BJP coalition Government.
After the meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence, 56-year-old Mehbooba told reporters it was “very positive” and “good” in addressing issues pertaining to the people of the State and that she was “very satisfied”.
The meeting took place a day after Mehbooba arrived here yesterday from Srinagar. She had met BJP president Amit Shah on Thursday and it was presumed that not much headway was made in that meeting on formation of the new Government.
“We are seeing a stalemate for last two to three months over Government formation in the State but today I am satisfied. I am very satisfied,” she said and announced that the party’s future course of action would be announced at the PDP Legislature Party meeting in Srinagar on Thursday.
To a question whether the stalemate has ended, she said, “When you meet the Prime Minister of the country, naturally the solution to the problems faced by the people of Jammu and Kashmir is more clear”.
Asked about the Modi-Mehbooba meeting, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said at a BJP briefing it was “constructive and good”.
Mehbooba will be flying back to Srinagar tomorrow where she will brief her party legislators on Thursday. “I had been authorized by the party MLAs to take a decision. I have convened a meeting on Thursday and after that we will announce the future course of action.”
On Government formation in the State, she said, “As I said I will talk to my MLAs because that is the forum. This is not the place. There is a particular place to make such announcements. I will go back to Srinagar and take the next step.”
Sources in the PDP said that after the legislative party meeting, the two sides would meet for Government formation and giving final touches to the Cabinet which will be headed by Mehbooba, the first woman Chief Minister of the State.
Mehbooba came to Delhi yesterday after PDP made it clear to BJP that there was some miscommunication and no fresh demands had been raised by the party for stitching an alliance.
The fresh efforts from PDP, which has 27 MLAs in the 87-member State Assembly, come in the backdrop of repeated assertions made by BJP that it was committed to implementation of Agenda of Alliance arrived at by late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed.
The talks with BJP, which has 25 MLAs, had hit a roadblock last week when the party’s interlocutor Ram Madhav made it clear that no fresh demands would be entertained from PDP and that they had to decide whether they want to form a Government based on the Agenda of Alliance document.


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