Dispelling speculation on PDP-BJP ties, PM Narendra Modi and J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti discussed measures to deal with violent protests even as both sides seemed to agree that political engagement would be difficult till some semblance of normalcy returned.
The discussions came on a day when PDP leader Abdul Ghani Dar was shot dead in Pulwama in an alarming return of "political assassinations" in the Valley.
The assassination seemed intended to force PDP's hand on its alliance with BJP. After the meeting, Mehbooba said she is open to talks with stakeholders as confrontation could not be permanent but added this was not possible amid firing and stone-pelting.
"Let the situation improve first," she said. However, sources said separatists and Pakistan were keen to keep the situation turbulent. Despite the continued violent protests and the separatist stance adopted by PDP's rival National Conference and tensions over issues such as cow vigilantism and attacks on Kashmiri students in some campuses outside the state, PDP and BJP leaderships remain engaged.