Lack of consensus within holds PDP back: BJP on coalition

Lack of consensus within holds PDP back: BJP on coalition

Wasim Khalid

Srinagar: Senior BJP leader and party’s in-charge of Kashmir affairs Ramesh Arora said on Friday that the lack of consensus among its legislators was holding PDP back from forming a coalition government in partnership with his party.
“We told our legislators that since we have to deal with a fractured mandate we will have to look for an alliance and that will entail small adjustments in election manifesto,” Arora said.
He said the BJP legislators “understood the situation” and authorised the leadership to decide on the issue of coalition.
“But PDP is yet to evolve a consensus among its flock,” Arora said.
Reports suggest that PDP was buying time before entering into a coalition with the BJP so that it can bargain better and sell the tie-up with a radical rightwing Hindu party as a “compulsion” to its predominantly Kashmiri Muslim electorate.
According to Arora, the lack of consensus within PDP was also the reason behind the slow progress of the talks between the two.
“PDP’s position on the coalition with BJP will become clear in two to three days. The PDP has to convince its constituency regarding an alliance with us,” the BJP leader said.
Asked whether PDP has set conditions for government formation, Arora said both parties have been discussing issues that could be included in the Common Minimum Programme between the two.
“We have a different take than PDP’s on chief minister’s term, autonomy and talks with Pakistan. We have decided to develop a CMP first. We have agreed on some points. Both parties have to compromise on certain things. It can’t be a one-way affair,” Arora said.
Arora said they would also develop a CMP with NC also in case PDP develops cold feet.
The PDP has set five conditions before BJP to form the government—respect for its self-rule proposal (softening of borders), revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act from peaceful areas, strengthening of Article 370, full tenure for Mufti Muhammad Sayeed as CM and a comprehensive economic rehabilitation package for the flood-hit people of the state.
The PDP, which shared power with the Congress from 2002 to 2008, has often repeated it has kept all options open for government formation and was not averse to the idea of a “grand alliance” comprising itself, Congress, NC and independents.
On the other hand, the NC, which suffered its worst-ever defeat in Assembly elections, said it would not be part of an alliance of which Congress is a constituent.

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