March 2016 News

BJP Supports Mehbooba, But Wants Relook At J&K Portfolios

25 March 2016
The Hindu
Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday extended its support to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti's candidature as the next chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir. However, a scheduled joint meeting with Governor N.N. Vohra did not take place. The PDP had earlier approached the Governor's office with a request 'to have a joint meeting in the evening', including Ms. Mufti and State BJP President Sat Sharma, which was agreed to. However, according to the Raj Bhavan spokesman, the PDP and BJP leaders failed to meet, saying 'talks were ongoing at Jammu between the leaders of their parties and they would make a fresh request for a meeting once they had concluded discussions'. BJP sources said the party was keen 'to have a relook at the party-wise allocation of portfolios'. Sources hinted at the party demanding a reshuffling of the ministries of Finance, Planning and junior ministry of State Home ministry, which traditionally has been with the Chief Minister. No fresh demands from BJP: PDP leaders Following the BJP's support for Ms. Mehbooba Mufti as Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, senior leaders, which included Nirmal Singh and Sat Sharma of the BJP and Haseeb Drabu and Abdul Rehman Veeri of the PDP were scheduled to hold a meeting in Jammu to iron out differences over government formation. However, speaking to The Hindu, PDP leaders denied that the 'BJP has come up with any fresh demands'. 'As the Governor summoned the two parties, it is just that the political events have taken over. We plan to approach the Governor jointly for the date of a swearing-in ceremony hopefully soon,' a top PDP leader said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Earlier in the day, the BJP held the legislature party meeting in Jammu and elected Nirmal Singh as its leader and nominated him for the post of Deputy Chief Minister again. It also backed Ms, Mufti's name as chief ministerial candidate. The meeting was presided over by BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav and Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jatinder Singh. 'The coalition partners will sit together and work out the modalities to ensure that a structure is in place with all its compatibilities and coordination intact,' said Dr. Singh, who also reiterated the BJP's commitment to implementation of the 'Agenda of the Alliance'. Meanwhile, sources quoted Mr. Madhav as asking the BJP legislators 'to focus on the governance front' and 'avoid raking up any controversies on the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir, including Article 370.'