PDP toes BJP line, agrees to put in place government

The Peoples Democratic Party on Thursday elected its president Mehbooba Mufti as leader of the legislature party and chief ministerial candidate, setting the stage for the PDP-BJP alliance to stake a claim for forming a government in Jammu and Kashmir after 77 days of political uncertainty.

A meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ms. Mufti in New Delhi on Tuesday saw the PDP president dropping all earlier conditions to have visible confidence-building measures in place before government formation.

On the contrary, the PDP was forced to toe the BJP line to form the government first.

"All the senior party leaders and the legislators have decided that Ms. Mufti be the chief ministerial candidate. After the invitation of Governor N.N. Vohra, the two parties [the PDP and the BJP] will meet him and fix the date for the swearing-in," PDP founding member Muzaffar Hussain Baig, MP, said after the legislature party meeting here.

Mr. Baig said the 'Agenda of the Alliance,' the common minimum programme agreed to by the alliance partners in 2015, "was comprehensive and there was no need to put any fresh demands."

Meanwhile, the BJP legislature party meeting, to be attended by BJP national general secretary and main interlocutor Ram Madhav and Union Minister Jatinder Singh, is scheduled for Friday, ahead of the meeting with the Governor.

Rebel PDP MP Tariq Hameed Karra, whom Ms. Mufti visited personally on Wednesday, also attended the meeting in a show of unity on government formation.

Earlier, Ms. Mufti visited the grave of her father Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.

Dissent in PDP may have forced PDP chief to act

The efforts at government formation hit a dead end last Saturday when a scheduled meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti in New Delhi was called off, despite a successful round of talks with BJP president Amit Shah.

According to top sources, talks resumed after the intervention of an emissary from the PM's office. There were reports of arm-twisting by Ms. Mufti through posturing and hardening of positions by the BJP. However, the Modi-Mehbooba meeting saw a breakthrough.

Source The Hindu

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