Srinagar: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) appear to have reached an agreement on sharing power in Jammu and Kashmir.
Sources in the two parties said that, in fact, the deal has been done and already vetted by their respective senior party leaderships. Also, the BJP has got consent of the RSS patriarchs. A formal announcement about cobbling up of a coalition of the two parties is likely to be made in next couple of days which will then stake claim to form government before Governor NN Vohra in Jammu. “I think, you will have an elected government in power in Jammu and Kashmir by the end of next week,” a senior PDP leader told this newspaper on condition of anonymity.
“The draft of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) is now ready. All the contentious issues like Article 370, Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act and rehabilitation of erstwhile West Pakistan refugees have been suitably dealt with and sensibly incorporated in it,” he added.
The sources said that PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed who returned to Jammu on Friday after spending a week in Mumbai will be the chief minister for full six-year term whereas senior BJP leader from Jammu and Kashmir, Dr. Nirmal Singh will be the deputy chief minister.
The sources said that the two sides have agreed to take Army on board on the issue of reviewing the Disturbed Areas Act in the run up to withdrawing of AFSPA from selected areas of the State which are considered as being peaceful and not facing any persistent threat from militants or terror groups. In this connection, a committee comprising experts from local administration and security forces including Army may be set up which would identify the areas where from the contentious law could be withdrawn in a gradual manner but strictly on the basis of security assessment..
On Article 370, the two parties have agreed to respect the wishes of the people of all the three regions of the state in consonance with the Constitution. The issue of rehabilitation of erstwhile West Pakistan refugees, on the other hand, will be dealt with keeping in view the humanitarian aspect of it and not as a political urgency, the sources said.
However, PDP spokesperson, Naeem Akhtar, said, “Talks have made significant progress. They have entered the next level. But there are a couple of areas which remain inconclusive and on which we need some more time and effort.”
Intense talks had been going on between the BJP and PDP almost ever since the Jammu and Kashmir state Assembly elections threw up a hung house in December 2014. In these elections, PDP emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats, BJP with 25 seats, NC with 15 and Congress 12 seats whereas the remaining seven seats in the 87-member House went to Independents and candidates of smaller parties. However, the PDP’s tally went up by one when Independent MLA from Zanskar (Ladakh), Bakir Hussein Rizvi, joined the party three weeks ago.