Srinagar: The PDP and BJP will be meeting governor NN Vohra in the afternoon on Saturday to stake claim for government formation. The two parties held discussions on Friday to resolve differences that had arisen over share of ministries and structure of the new government.
The BJP, however, took a step towards the government formation by electing Dr Nirmal Singh as its leader of the Legislature Party and nominee for deputy chief minister’s post.
Mehbooba, who was unanimously elected leader of PDP Legislature Party and chief minister candidate by her party on Thursday arrived in Jammu on Friday morning. She had been called by the governor to discuss the government formation.
Till late in the evening, she stayed in a section of an official guest house, where a group of BJP leaders had also assembled in another section. The two, however, did not meet for the entire day.
Sources said that the PDP and BJP leaders did communicate on intercom and mobile phones to iron out differences.
They later arrived at a consensus to meet the governor.
In a statement, Raj Bhawan said that PDP and BJP Presidents were scheduled to meet the governor on Friday. However, the PDP approached the governor on Friday afternoon to ascertain whether the PDP and BJP leaders could meet the governor when they had concluded their discussions.
Sources said that the differences have erupted over the distribution of portfolios in the new council of ministers. The BJP is reportedly asking for their share in key ministries, including finance and home.
In the previous government headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, PDP had 11 cabinet ministers and BJP seven, including ally Sajad Gani Lone. The BJP is now demanding an equal share in the cabinet now.
Earlier, the BJP Legislature Party unanimously decided to form the government with the PDP and extended support to PDP’s chief ministerial candidate Mehbooba Mufti.
It also elected senior leader and former deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh as the legislature party leader who will also be the BJP candidate for the post of the deputy chief minister. The BJP meeting was attended by party’s national general secretary Ram Madhav and Minister of State in PMO and MP Udhampur Dr Jitendra Singh.
“BJP and PDP together will approach the governor and stake claim for formation of the government very soon,” Ram Madhav told reporters.
“As we have decided to form the government with PDP, we will support the chief ministerial candidate of PDP,” BJP State President Sat Sharma said.
Madhav said that his party had not sought time to meet the governor and will do so after its meeting with PDP.
Dr Jitendra Singhsaid said that there were no differences between the coalition partners BJP and PDP.
“There was never a breakdown in the coalition between the BJP and PDP. I think this is the continuation of the process which started about a year back,” Singh said.
Singh said very soon the coalition partners will sit together and work out all the modalities to ensure that a structure is in place with all its compatibilities and coordination intact.
To a question on distribution of portfolios, Madhav said, “All that will be discussed later. Initially and immediately BJP and PDP will go and stake their claim to form the government.”
Asked if there were differences between the two coalition partners and whether they have been sorted out, he said that the PDP chief had herself stated that there were no differences.
He said the government will be formed based on the Agenda for Alliance that was agreed upon by both the parties a year ago. The Agenda for Alliance will remain unchanged, he added.