Ending suspense of days, PDP and BJP today said their coalition will continue on the basis of the understanding reached last year but gave no timeframe for formation of the new government in Jammu and Kashmir, which is set to be headed by Mehbooba Mufti.
Both parties emphasised that no conditions have been put by either, with PDP saying the coalition will move forward on the basis of last year’s ‘Agenda of Alliance’ which encompasses all issues - political and economic.
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, who had played the key role in firming up the coalition last year, held a meeting with all the 25 MLAs of the party in Jammu after which the party leaders said they were just waiting for PDP to initiate the process of forming the government.
BJP general secretary in-charge of J&K Avinash Rai Khanna said they are waiting for PDP to formally elect their Legislature Party leader after which other formalities could be done.
“As far as I am concerned, there is no suspense. We have lost a stalwart like Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Once the official mourning period (seven days) is over, I think the (coalition) government will carry on under the leadership of Mehbooba Mufti,” PDP’s chief spokesperson Mehboob Beg told reporters.
The state government had declared a seven-day official mourning as a mark of respect to Sayeed, then Chief Minister who passed away at AIIMS in Delhi on last Thursday. This mourning period will end tomorrow.
Beg, however, did not give a timeframe for government formation in the state which was brought under Governor’s Rule on Friday following the death of Sayeed a day earlier.
He said no conditions had been laid either by the PDP or the BJP for the government formation in the state as all the issues had been thrashed out in ‘Agenda of Alliance’ last year. PDP has 27 MLAs in the 87-member Assembly.
“This government will continue after the state mourning is over as per the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ in which all the issues that were between this alliance of North Pole and South Pole have been sorted out by Mufti sahib,” Beg said.
The PDP spokesperson said the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ between the two parties encompasses all the issues—both political as well as economic—and will form the guiding the document for the six-year term of the coalition.
“I do not think there is any need for talks (with BJP). I do not see any issues that need to be resolved,” he added.
Asked about the speculation of Congress offering support to PDP for government formation, Beg said AICC president Sonia Gandhi and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad had come only to pay respects to Sayeed who had spent a long time in that party.
“Soniaji and Azad Sahib came to pay respect to the person who had helped Congress take roots in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
“Let PDP open its cards,” the BJP leader added.
The party’s state unit chief Sat Paul Sharma also asserted that there are no differences between the two parties.
“We will definitely go ahead.... Let PDP choose its leader. When they elect their leader, we will sit together and decide the future course of action,” he said, while adding that there was no formal communication from PDP as of now because of the mourning period.
Asked when the swearing-in could take place, Sharma said it will depend on PDP.
Noting that there was a 7-day mourning period which will end tomorrow, he expressed hope that government-formation steps will start thereafter and BJP will have formal meeting on the issue.
To a question on delay, Sharma said PDP has to go to the Governor to inform about their leader. “I think we will soon arrive at a decision,” he said.
“We have already replied to the Governor,” the BJP leader said, referring to the query made by Vohra about the position of the respective parties.
Meanwhile, with the government-formation getting delayed, the Budget Session of the Assembly, scheduled to start on January 18, has been cancelled.
Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta said today that the new government will decide on when to convene the session afresh.
During the 52-day session, the PDP-BJP government headed by Sayeed was to present its annual budget on January 22.