J&K govt formation: As BJP, PDP get closer, issues like Article 370, Afspa remain, who will form govt in Jammu Kashmir,J&K government formation, Jammu Kashmir Election News updates
J&K govt formation: As BJP, PDP get closer, issues like Article 370, Afspa remain
NEW DELHI: The process of government formation in Jammu and Kashmir now depends on the nitty-gritty of an agreement between any possible ally of BJP on contentious issues like Article 370 and the question of the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (Afspa). That ally looks increasingly like the People's Democratic Party (PDP) at the moment.
Top sources in BJP confirmed to ET that "the ice has been broken between BJP and PDP", but that "these issues will have to be resolved". Interestingly, the question of a BJP chief minister leading the government in Jammu and Kashmir was described as "not being nonnegotiable". Less cryptically, this means that BJP would be willing to concede on that point if other issues are negotiated more subtly.
"Relations between BJP and PDP leader Mufti Mohammad Sayed are already quite good, even National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval is an old friend of Muftiji. That is not the point. The mandate in the Valley is of a certain kind, while that of Jammu is another. We have both peaked in these respective areas, and the message of the mandate cannot be ignored," said a source.
It is on Afspa, therefore, that BJP has realised it will have to negotiate a subtle line. Will it mean partial withdrawal of the armed forces from some areas of Srinagar or Pulwama, or an undertaking on "reviewing" the matter seriously — it is still being debated. "This is not a light matter for us. Especially after the recent spate of attacks like in Uri, the case for not withdrawing Afspa becomes stronger," said the source.
On the matter of repeal of Article 370, BJP appeared on surer ground saying there would be a reiteration of what PM Narendra Modi had said earlier of a debate on whether or not the state had profited from it. "I don't think that would be a deal breaker," said a senior leader of the party.
The party says a week more of talks could see a government in place in the state, while the statutory limit for convening the assembly is January 19. "Till then, all combinations are possible," said a leader with a laugh.