The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is demanding from its ally Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) an equal share in Jammu and Kashmir’s new government and also a free hand in the administration of the Jammu region.
A BJP insider said that the party leaders were of the view that since both the partners have almost an equal number of MLAs in the 87-member house, it was natural to demand an equal share in the new cabinet to be headed by PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti.
BJP has been demanding an equal share in cabinet ministries and MoS with each cabinet minister. The right-wing saffron party is also pitching for finance and planning in the upcoming government. BJP states that General Secretary Ashok Koul said that there are many portfolios on which discussion is going on with PDP but finance and planning is the epicenter of the discussion.
However, PDP has refused to budge. Chief Minister designate Mehbooba Mufti had said in Jammu soon after meeting the Governor with letter of support from his legislators to form government that there will be no reshuffle in ministers. “Our ministries will remain with us and their will remain with them. It will be a coalition government, and we will not work separately,” she said.
In the previous PDP-BJP coalition, PDP had 11 cabinet ministers, BJP had eight members, including PC chairman Sajjad Lone and both the alliance partners had three ministers of state each. On the date of oath taking ceremony of Mehbooba, PDP leader said that the party is waiting for BJP to fix the date.
“Once BJP proposes the date to the Governor, oath will be taken accordingly. Oath taking ceremony will be low-key and is likely to be held at Raj Bhavan in Jammu where preparations are ongoing on,” the leader said. Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend oath taking ceremony of the government, but BJP has not yet officially confirmed about his arrival.
Meanwhile, PDP president after returning from Jammu has been holding deliberations with senior party leaders and the party MLAs over the modalities of the government formation and the party affairs. PDP chief held a meeting with senior leader and MP, Tariq Hameed Karra, this week and today Mehbooba held a meeting with party district heads and senior workers and sought their opinions and consultation on the government formation and party affairs.