J&K government formation: Mufti to meet PM Modi soon to ‘seal the deal’

Mufti Mohammed Sayeed will be the chief minister
Mufti Mohammed Sayeed will be the chief minister

NEW DELHI (TIP): Jammu and Kashmir’s wait for a new government is likely to get over as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are poised to join hands and form a coalition soon.

Sources said that the PDP patron and former chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed  will be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a formal announcement will be made in the next few days.

Sayeed would be the chief minister of the alliance and an agreement had been reached between the two parties on a Common Minimum Programme(CMP) and contentious issues like Article 370, displaced Kashmiri Pandits and uniform civil code had been thrashed out, said sources.

PDP, which has 28 MLAs in the 87-member Assembly, has formed a team of six people to begin the structured dialogue with the BJP. It includes MPs Muzzafar Hussain Baig and Tariq Hameed Qara, chief spokesman Naeem Akthar, MLAs Hasseb Drabu and Altaf Bhukari and Vikramaditya Singh all of whom will be arriving in the national capital tomorrow.

The team is expected to meet Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday, who was nominated by the BJP along with Arun Singh, for negotiating with parties in the state for government formation, sources said. BJP has 25 MLAs in the state Assembly.

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This may be followed by a meeting between Sayeed and Modi to seal the deal, sources said.

BJP has in-principle agreed for a six-year term for Sayeed while the party will hold the post of Deputy Chief Minister which is expected to be given to state BJP leader Nirmal Singh.

After hectic negotiations between the two parties in Mumbai and Chandigarh, it was agreed that PDP will keep the Home portfolio and BJP may get the finance.

Akthar said the results were an opportunity for both PDP as well as BJP to bring normalcy to the state.

Asked about a possible Sayeed-Modi meeting, he said “nothing is scheduled”.

“For us, finalisation of government has to be preceded by a CMP which is must. What will be the use of the government which will not be able to deliver on the ground,” he said, adding, “once the CMP is finalised, the government formation will be purposeful.”

PDP had been offered support by National Conference which has 15 MLAs and Congress which has 12 to form the government but it started negotiations with BJP, which made historic electoral gains in the state for the first time.

If the two parties agree over the nitty-gritties then this would be the first time that the BJP would be part of a government in the Valley.

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