People’s Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti has conveyed to the Bharatiya Janata Party that unless she gets an assurance from Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the “agenda of the alliance” will be implemented, she will not take oath as the first woman Chief Minister of the state. Mehbooba Mufti has told her party colleagues that if she is not allowed to implement the “Kashmir centric agenda”, she will look for other options.
Highly-placed sources in the PDP said that Mehbooba has conveyed to the BJP central leadership that the development package and flood compensation should come to the state without any further delay. “She has conveyed that the coalition can only work if she is allowed to work on the ‘agenda of the alliance’ without any roadblocks from the state BJP leadership. Mehbooba has also listed instances when BJP ministers violated the coalition dharma,” a senior PDP leader told The Sunday Guardian.
The PDP has already told the media that they will review the progress on the implementation of the “agenda of alliance” before going for a coalition with the BJP again. Mehbooba has said that her party was floundering in the Kashmir valley because of the state BJP leadership’s “communal and biased attitude”. She has said that the state BJP leadership should be told by the central leaders that the alliance can work only if the PDP is given “room” to handle the “complex and explosive situation” in the valley.
As government formation may take time, the PDP has started consultations within the party to take a final call on whether to align with the BJP or not. While the BJP has been pressing for government formation, Mehbooba has said that it would not be business as usual unless all the ticklish issues within the coalition are addressed. Senior BJP leader Nirmal Singh said that they were waiting for an official response from PDP before making any political move. “This is all speculation. Mehboobaji has not conveyed anything to us so far officially,” Singh said.
Sources said that Mehbooba has said that the coalition cannot continue on assurances from BJP general secretary Ram Madhav. These have to come from the highest level of the party’s leadership. Mehbooba has reportedly conveyed her hurt and anger to Union minister Nitin Gadkari who came to Srinagar. “In the past 10 months, my father was humiliated for getting funds released. Decisions were taken about separatists at New Delhi. We did an alliance going against the popular sentiment and carried on despite a dwindling public base. I cannot continue like this,” Mehbooba apparently told Gadkari.
Sensing trouble, the BJP leadership released Rs 1,194 crore for rebuilding the flood-hit infrastructure. The Centre also dispatched the Union finance secretary to Srinagar, who met Mehbooba on Thursday to address her concerns about the development package announced in Srinagar by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mehbooba told the finance secretary that the package is to be restored to its original shape, as Rs 24,000 crore meant for harnessing of hydroelectric potential was deleted at the last minute. “The flood relief package file got stopped for months and we were forced to knock on all doors without any success,” Mehbooba reportedly told him. Sources told The Sunday Guardian that the PDP will hold several sessions to look at all options, including striking an alliance with the Congress or going for fresh polls. The stalemate will continue for weeks as there is no headway with BJP currently, PDP sources said.