Mufti breaks silence, admits ‘track-II’ dialogue with BJP on

Mufti breaks silence, admits ‘track-II’ dialogue with BJP on

Moazum Mohammad

Jammu/Srinagar: The first major sign confirming the PDP and BJP were close to forming a government appeared on Saturday when PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed spoke on the issue for the first time, saying his party was engaged in “track-II dialogue” with the saffron party to find the common ground for a coalition.
Mufti, who has remained silent on the issue of government formation while letting his partymen work out an alliance with the BJP, said that though both parties had divergent agendas, they needed to arrive at a consensus for a coalition government.
The PDP leader, who is the party’s chief ministerial candidate, said there will be no “sell-out” of his party’s core ideology on some key issues.
“I won’t resort to a sell-out but if we form a government it will be for the welfare of the people,” Mufti told his party leaders at a function organised to elect the party president.
Mufti said the success of “track II” negotiations will lead to an agreement that will form the basis of a Common Minimum Programme.
“After the CMP is decided, we will hold structured dialogue. We have to take the state out of the quagmire. I don’t need chief minister’s post or the government, but am concerned about the welfare of my people,” he said.
Mufti said the fractured mandate has thrown up a challenge and the PDP will take up the challenge only if it feels that it will be in a position to connect the people of all the regions and work for the welfare of the entire state.
The PDP has been finding it difficult to form a coalition with a party it projected as a pariah during election campaigning and which has vehemently opposed some of the issues the PDP has made a part of its core ideology such as self-rule, dialogue with Pakistan and resistance leadership, AFSPA and Article 370.
Stating that peace was a prerequisite for economic development of the state, Mufti said, “We can’t dictate terms on foreign policy which is under the prime minister’s domain. But the hostilities between India and Pakistan have a direct impact on Jammu and Kashmir and its people. We want that peace should prevail on the borders and within in the state.”
Calling the draconian AFSPA “an embarrassment for the country”, Mufti said the legislation shall be revoked in time-bound manner.
“That law gives an impression that the state is being governed through military law,” he added.

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