Moazum Mohammad/Wasim Khalid
Jammu/Srinagar: The BJP and PDP have agreed to form a coalition government, which will be announced soon, and while the government is in place, an intellectuals’ group that has been set up will in the meantime suggest both partners on how to resolve controversial issues in an amicable way, a BJP leader said.
The leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said the group’s members have been drawn from all the three regions of the state.
“The intellectuals group would study and give their recommendations on sensitive issues that have serious ramifications in Kashmir and Jammu regions,” the BJP leader said.
For example, the leader said, that the Article 370 will not be abrogated—as BJP had promised during elections—but some of its provisions that “hinder” development might be amended.
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“We are equally concerned about the demography of the state. But some provisions which hinder investments by the corporate sector might be removed. We want to create employment avenues for both the regions and that can be done only through private sector investments. We may have to amend the Article 370 to achieve that and that will be done without changing the bases of the Article,” he added.
The intellectuals’ group will come handy in working out the compromise, he said.
The PDP and BJP have been working out a way to form a coalition government ever since the results of the assembly polls were declared on December 23. But a consensus eluded them because of some controversial issues on which they seemingly have opposite views.
The issues on which they disagreed with each other include ‘self-rule’, AFSPA, Article 370, talks with Pakistan and chief minister’s tenure.
He said the BJP is trying hard to form the government in the insurgency-ridden state before January 26 so that it can be highlighted as an achievement before US president Barrack Obama who is this year’s chief guest at R-Day parade.
“The deal has been sealed and our leadership want an announcement before January 26. But it can happen anytime,” the leader said.
According to an agreed upon loose framework, which would be later concretised into a Common Minimum Programme, both parties have agreed that PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed will be the chief minister for the full six-year term and a BJP leader will be the deputy CM for the same period.
Sources said the ministerial cabinet would be equally shared by both the parties, adding, important ministries like Revenue, Home and Finance would lie with the PDP while BJP would get PHE, R&B and Power.
“The BJP has said that it has no objection to PDP giving a breather to the youth involved in stone pelting,” sources said. But the saffron party is learnt to have said no to returning state’s power projects to the state government.
Senior PDP leader Tariq Hameed Karra, economist-turned-politican Haseeb Drabu led the PDP side while BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, Finance minister Arun Jaitley and Nirmal Singh represented the BJP in the parleys which took place in New Delhi.
PDP spokesman Naeem Akhtar said that so far no structured talks have been started with BJP.
“We have not finalized any CMP. The government has to be formed hence obviously there would be talks on issues,” he added.