March 2016 News

Govt Formation: At Long Last, PDP-BJP To Stake Claim Today

25 March 2016
Greater Kashmir
Arvind Sharma

Jammu: Leaders from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and BhartiyaJanta Party (BJP) would jointly call on Governor NN Vohra on Saturday to stake claim to form Government in J&K to be headed by Mehbooba Mufti. The alliance partners' readiness to resume Version-2 of their coalition government marks the end of more than two months' political uncertainty in the state after the death of former CM Mufti Muhammad Sayeed. A source said PDP President Mehbooba Mufti and State BJP President Sat Sharma would jointly meet the Governor at 3:30 pm and stake their claim to form the Government. Mehbooba and Sharma would be joined by senior leaders from their respective parties. While PDP has presently 27 members in the 87-member J&K Assembly, BJP has 25. PDP, which had 28 MLAs prior to the death of Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, claims support of one Independent MLA from Ladakh region while BJP has support of three more MLAs including two of SajjadLone's Peoples Conference. The Governor had summoned Presidents of both the parties separately today for consultations over Government formation in the state. However the alliance partners deferred their meetings at the last minute and sought some time. 'As per the Governor's letters of 22nd March 2016 to President JK PDP and State President BJP, they were scheduled to have separate meetings with him at Raj Bhavan Jammu today afternoon. Raj Bhavan was approached by PDP today afternoon to ascertain whether the PDP and BJP leaders could meet the Governor together today evening. This was agreed to,' a Raj Bhavan spokesman said. He further said that PDP and BJP leaders later informed Raj Bhavan that talks were 'going on at Jammu between the leaders of their parties and they would make a fresh request for meeting the Governor when they conclude their discussions.' The source however said both the parties decided to meet the Governor jointly on Saturday and stake claim to the government after the meeting between the top leaders of the two parties in Jammu this evening. The sources said senior BJP leader including party's National General Secretary Ram Madhav, State BJP President Sat Sharma and senior party leader Ashok Koul met Mehbooba in the evening following which the decision was taken. Set to be the first woman Chief Minister of J&K, Mehbooba would be accompanied by senior party leaders MuzaffarHussainBaig and Tariq Hameed Karra while BJP State President would be joined byDrNirmal Singh for the joint meeting with the Governor. 'Leaders of both the parties will meet the Governor on Saturday to stake claim for forming the government in the State,' Ashok Koul confirmed to Greater Kashmir. The joint meeting will take place two days after Mehbooba was unanimously elected as the PDP's legislature party leader and nominated as the party's CM candidate. The BJP today announced that DrNirmal Singh would again be the Deputy Chief Minister in the new cabinet, a position he had held in previous PDP-BJP Government. 'Will support PDP, No difference': Earlier during the day, the BJP Legislature Party unanimously decided to form government with PDP and extended support to PDP's Chief Ministerial candidate and party chiefMehbooba Mufti after electing senior leader DrNirmal Singh as Legislature Party leader. 'The Legislature Party has decided to support PDP to form the government in J&K,' BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav told reporters here after the meeting. Madhav, BJP's pointsman on Kashmir and minister in the PMO, Jitendra Singh were part of BJP's today's meeting in Jammu. Sat Sharma told reporters that since the party has decided to form the government with PDP they would support Mehbooba for the Chief Minister's position in J&K which is under the governor's rule from January 8 following the demise of former Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed. Jitendra Singh ruled out any differences between the coalition partners BJP and PDP and said 'there was never a breakdown in the coalition between BJP and PDP. I think this is the continuation of the process which started about a year back.' He said in a coalition the partners have to accommodate each other's priorities and each other's preferences. 'That is precisely we do in a healthy coalition to augur well for the state of Jammu and Kashmir.' Madhav too cleared that there were no differences between the coalition partners. 'There are no differences. Mehbooba Mufti herself had stated yesterday that she is ready to form the government and that she has reposed her full faith in the central government and together we will form the government in the state and together we will give a stable and good government that will work for the welfare of the people of the state,' Madhav said. He said that the government would be formed based on Agenda of Alliance that was agreed upon by both the parties a year ago. The PDP and BJP had come together to form the alliance in J&K in March 2015 under the leadership of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Both the sides had formed an Agenda of Alliance which sought to address internal and external dimension of the state.