SRINAGAR: The deadline for government formation in the state ended on Monday but when the BJP-PDP coalition government will finally take shape remains the talking point.
The two main political parties, PDP and BJP, were supposed to stake claim to the government by January 19 when the term of the current Assembly ended. The deadline passed amid reports that the two are engaged in secret talks to iron out some sore points coming in the way of forming an alliance.
Having turned down the offer of support from its arch rival National Conference, and cold shouldering a similar offer from Congress, the PDP has made up its mind to form a government with the saffron party.
That a coalition government between these two parties is a foregone conclusion and could be announced anytime was evident in BJP national president Amit Shah’s statement on Sunday that “nobody can form a government” in the state without the support of his party.
Shah had told party workers in New Delhi that the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir were important for BJP as the party had never won more than 12 seats there.
“In the recent elections we won 25 seats for the first time since the state of Jammu and Kashmir came into being. In Jammu and Kashmir, we could not form government due to unusual political situation is the elections, but the result shows that no government could be formed without us,” he said.
Reports suggested that the government formation was stuck mainly due to differences over the term of the chief minister.
The state BJP leaders, mainly those in Jammu region, insist that the party should not give up on its two demands: splitting the chief minister’s term between the two parties equally and keeping the abrogation of Article 370 on its agenda.
During informal talks between the two parties, their leaders had agreed to put on the backburner several contentious issues such as Article 370, Armed Forces Special Powers Act, “self rule” and talks with Pakistan. Instead, they had decided to stay focused on development.
Having been snubbed, the Congress said on Monday that a PDP-BJP coalition will “not prove good for the people of Kashmir because it is a known fact that BJP pursues anti-Kashmir agenda”.
Former minister and senior Congress leader Taj Mohiuddin said the perception that PDP will get more funds from the Centre for development was misplaced.