- BJP’s pointsman met Chief Minister at her Fairvew residence in Srinagar
- Mehbooba told to restore normalcy in Valley
- The duo discussed strained coalition
Srinagar: At a time of growing friction between the ruling coalition partners, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), over the issue of holding dialogue with pro-freedom groups, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav met Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti at her Gupkar Road residence here on Sunday to discuss the situation in Kashmir.
According to sources in the BJP, Madhav, who was in Jammu in connection with the visit of BJP president Amit Shah, flew from Jammu to Srinagar along with Director General of Police SP Vaid. He met Mehbooba Mufti at her residence in the afternoon.
Sources said the main aim of the meeting was to control the “law and order situation” in Kashmir.
“The central leadership of BJP is concerned about the deteriorating law and order situation in Kashmir. The increasing protests by students and the low turnout in the by-election has made its impact. The party wants normalcy to return soon,” sources said. “That is what Madhav told Mehbooba: he told her that normalcy should return soon.”
Earlier, Amit Shah on Saturday had said that New Delhi was concerned about the Kashmir situation and wanted to “set things right”.
Sources said the visit of Madhav, who stitched the coalition between PDP and BJP, was significant also because of the growing communication gap between the two coalition partners.
“The issue of recent elections for Member of Legislative Council (MLC) and Agenda of Alliance (AOA) came under discussion,” sources said. “Both the leaders discussed these issues and Madhav tried to clear the position of BJP. So, you can say, he wanted to sort out differences with the PDP on crucial issues and make the coalition run smoothly.”
The BJP’s state spokesman Khalid Jehangir said that Madhav’s meeting with Mehbooba Mufti was a normal one to discuss coalition issues.
Even as PDP leaders remained tightlipped over the Madhav-Mehbooba meet, the friction over holding talks with pro-freedom groups has increased the tension between the two coalition partners.
The PDP, invoking the AOA between the two ruling partners, has time and again stated that talks with pro-freedom groups and with Pakistan are necessary to bring normalcy in Kashmir.
After her recent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mehbooba claimed that talks will happen once the pro-freedom protests and stone-pelting stops. But the BJP seemed to have snubbed the chief minister when on Saturday BJP President Amit Shah stated that for the BJP, the nation comes first and the government second. Madhav has also said that no talks will be held with “people who are not loyal to India”.
No PDP leader was available for comment despite repeated attempts.