March 2016 News

BJP Pushing For More Key Portfolios, Equal Partnership In New J And K Government

28 March 2016
The New Indian Express
Fayaz Wani

Srinagar: The PDP and BJP, who have staked a claim to form the government in Jammu and Kashmir, are yet to fix a date for the swearing-in ceremony due to differences over allocation of ministries. Sources in the BJP said the party was demanding more ministries in the coalition government to be headed by 56-year-old Mehbooba Mufti. 'The party is asking for allocation of two more than what we got in the Mufti Sayeed-led government. The party is demanding one more cabinet and MoS portfolio,' the sources said. The BJP, they said, is also pressing the PDP to treat it as an equal partner in the coalition government. 'At present, PDP has 27 MLAs and BJP too has 27 legislators including two of the People's Conference of separatist-turned-mainstream politician Sajjad Lone. PDP does not have more legislators than us and they should treat us an equal partner,' they argued. In the Mufti Sayeed-led government, there were 15 cabinet ministers and of them, six were from BJP and one from People's Conference. Besides, there were 10 ministers of state of whom four belonged to BJP. BJP leaders were also demanding some key portfolios. A BJP leader said talks between the two allies were going on over distribution of portfolios. 'The consultation is going on and we are hopeful that both parties would sort out the issues and fix a date for swearing-in ceremony of the new government,' he said. A senior BJP leader said government could only be formed after April 3. 'The office-bearers of the party will meet for two days on April 2 and 3. All the top leaders, legislators, district presidents and others will attend the meeting during which party affairs and government formation will be discussed threadbare,' he said.