A PDP-BJP coalition government is still uncertain as meetings between Mehbooba Mufti and BJP’s top leaders have been delayed in the absence of unanimity between the two parties on important agendas. Sources close to PDP said negotiations have touched a low as the BJP leadership has not given any firm commitment on the demands put forth by Mehbooba which include economic turnaround.
Mehbooba is learnt to have told Governor N.N. Vohra in a meeting on Friday afternoon that People’s Democratic Party was still exploring the possibility of making a coalition government, although it was in no haste.
Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said she was ready to be the next Chief Minister despite “heavy costs” attached for aligning with the BJP if the Centre gave assurances to respect the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Her statement came in the wake of allegations made by opposition leader Omar Abdullah that the PDP has aligned with a party which is trying to throw out all Muslims from the country.
Former finance minister and PDP negotiator Haseeb Drabu recently came back from New Delhi without being able to secure any concrete nod from the BJP on Mehbooba’s demands. The development prompted a senior journalist privy to the negotiations to say that both BJP and PDP are playing the game of nerves and want to see who will blink first.
Sources in the PDP say they hope that a coalition government will be in place in J&K after the budget session in Parliament. “Mehbooba is slated to meet BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and both the parties are expected to reach some agreement in the ongoing negotiations,” a senior PDP leader told The Sunday Guardian on Friday.
Mehbooba, meanwhile, has said that the “Centre will have to show that they have space in their heart for the people of J&K and that they are ready to implement the agenda of alliance already agreed on by BJP when the government was formed here”. She said that the Centre must take some tangible steps to show to the people of the state that they are ready to fulfill their promises and respect their aspirations.
Mehbooba Mufti has sought J&K specific CBMs from the Central government before she takes oath as the first woman Chief Minister of the state.
Mehbooba said that she was waiting for a positive response from the Centre. “I need a firm commitment from the Central government that they will take the ownership of the state government and will do everything possible for the economic turnaround. If that happens, I will immediately form the government,” she said.