No gridlock over portfolios, BJP-PDP to meet Guv today

March 26:Ending two-month deadlock over government formation, PDP and BJP are set to jointly call on Governor N.N.Vohra tomorrow and stake claim to form the new government

The leaders of the two parties were supposed to meet Governor N.N.Vohra today but the same got delayed due to some issues over distribution of portfolios between the two parties. Though both the parties denied that there was any tussle over portfolio distribution and it was because of this that they decided not to meet Governor today but sources disclosed that BJP has put forth certain demands.

Soon after the proposed meeting with governor was postponed, political galleries were abuzz with the news that due to failed talks between probable partners, the meeting has been postponed. It was being said that BJP was demanding home and PWD portfolios, something which PDP negated. There were also reports that BJP wanted 50:50 share in the ministries besides seeking important portfolios.

Earlier in the day, BJP Legislature Party unanimously decided to form government in Jammu and Kashmir with the coalition partner 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 Legislature Party has decided to support the PDP in the formation of government in the state and the BJP and PDP together will approach the Governor and stake claim for formation of the government very soon,” BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav told reporters here after the meeting.

“As we have decided to form the government with the PDP, we will support the Chief Ministerial candidate of the PDP,” sate BJP president Sat Sharma said. The meeting came a day after PDP elected Mehbooba as its Legislature Party Leader and the party candidate for the Chief Minister’s post.

Asked if the BJP has deferred its meeting with the Governor, who had written to the party to clear its stand on government formation by today, Madhav said the BJP had never sought time from the Governor. “No, we did not ask for any time or date to go and meet the Governor. The BJP will do that after its meeting with the PDP. We will go together to meet the Governor,” he said.

Union Minister Jitendra Singh, who attended the meeting, said there were no differences between the 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, Minister in the PMO, said.

“There were no differences. When you are in a coalition, you have to accommodate each other’s priorities and each other’s preferences. That is precisely what we do in a healthy coalition that augers well for Jammu and Kashmir,” he 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. “The BJP legislators who met here today, have unanimously elected Dr Nirmal Singh as the Legislature Party Leader and he will also be the BJP candidate for the post of Deputy Chief Minister,” the state BJP chief said.

Sharma said the party has decided to defer its scheduled meeting with Governor N.N. Vohra. “Today we will not be meeting the Governor and the decision will be conveyed to his office. We will hold a meeting with PDP leaders and after that we will meet the Governor,” he said.

Asked as to when the BJP will hand over the letter of support to the Governor, Sharma said today’s meeting was aimed at discussing the issue of extending support to the PDP for the formation of government. “We will soon be holding a meeting in which we will decide about handing over a letter of support to the Governor,” he said.

To a question on distribution of portfolios, Madhav said, “All that will be discussed later. Initially and immediately, the BJP and PDP will go and stake their claim to form the government.” On if there were any differences between the two coalition partners and whether they have been sorted out, he said the PDP chief had herself stated that there were no differences.

“There are no differences. Mehbooba Mufti herself had stated yesterday that she is ready to form the government and that she has reposed her full faith in the central government and together we will form the government in the state and together we will give a stable and good government that will work for welfare of the people of state,” Madhav said.

He said the government would be formed based on “Agenda of Alliance” that was agreed upon by both the parties a year ago. “Our guiding principle will be common minimum programme, the agenda of governance agreed upon by both parties year ago,” he said.


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