Madhav meets Mehbooba over Govt formation

Feb 18: In a first high level direct contact between leaders of PDP and BJP over formation of new Government in Jammu and Kashmir, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav, the party’s point man and architect of previous coalition Government, today met PDP president Mehbooba Mufti at her residence here for about an hour. The two top leaders of their respective political parties discussed modalities for formation of Government in the State.
This was the first one-to-one meeting between the leaders of the two parties over the Government formation breaking over 40-days long deadlock, which had surfaced after the death of then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7.
Madhav arrived in a special flight at the Srinagar Airport in the evening and headed for Fair View, Mufti’s residence at Gupkar Road. The meeting lasted for one hour during which sources said that the BJP general Secretary put forward the party response to Mehbooba’s conditions which she had put forth for formation of Government with BJP.
The BJP leader didn’t speak to media that was waiting outside Mehbooba’s residence and left for Airport wherefrom he took flight to Delhi at 8.30 pm.
Mehbooba is front runner for the Chief Minister’s post if the PDP-BJP forms Government in the State but she was unwilling to take oath as Chief Minister after her father’s death and wants assurances and a timeline on implementation of the mutually-agreed “Agenda of the Alliance”.
The PDP president recently talked tough over Government formation, demanding that BJP’s Government at the Centre to take some “confidence building measures” to address the “core” political and economic issues of the State within a set timeframe.
Some of the issues on which the PDP wants the Centre to take steps include revocation of AFSPA, dialogue with separatists in the State, sanctioning two smart cities for Jammu and Kashmir and return of power projects to the State.
Madhav’s much-awaited visit is being  watched closely as this could be a make or break moment for the PDP-BJP coalition. The two ideologically divergent political parties formed coalition Government last year in the backdrop of a fractured mandate with PDP sweeping Kashmir valley and BJP Jammu region in the polls held in 2014.
Madhav’s visit was kept a closely-guarded secret as State leaders of the BJP and the PDP leaders were unaware about the meeting. The meeting was one to one between Madhav and Mehbooba.
The former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, dropped hints about Madhav’s visit by tweeting about arrival of an unscheduled flight at the Srinagar Airport. “Unscheduled flight VTJSG just landed in Srinagar after normal operation hours. Something is cooking with the PDP-BJP government formation,” Omar tweeted.
Meanwhile, when approached for comments on Madhav-Mehbooba meeting in Srinagar, BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh said the things were moving in the positive direction and hoped that the new Government will be formed soon.

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