BJP says J&K govt can`t be formed on conditions, PDP says `doors not closed`

The Bharatiya Janata Party has refused to accept any new demand from the People`s Democratic Party for government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Last Updated: Mar 19, 2016, 00:05 AM IST
BJP says J&K govt can`t be formed on conditions, PDP says `doors not closed`

New Delhi: The deadlock over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir continues on Friday with the Bharatiya Janata Party refusing to accept any new demand from the People`s Democratic Party (PDP).

The PDP, however, appeared to soften its stand tonight in a bid to reach out to BJP, with a senior party leader saying "our doors are not closed".

Earlier in the day, the PDP had denied setting any new terms, saying it was insisting only on implementation of issues agreed upon in the 'Agenda of Alliance' between the two parties.

Later, PDP MP and one of its founding leaders Muzaffar Hussain Baig told PTI that no fresh demand has been made during the talks held by the two parties.

"What we have asked for is very much part of the agenda of the alliance. For example handing over of two power projects, reviewing AFSPA, vacating land held by the Army..Now all these have been part of the earlier document which received its nod from late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Baig said.

Earlier in the day, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, the party's pointsman in the state, said that the stalemate that existed earlier in government-formation continued and that conditions cannot be the basis for the exercise.

Ram Madhav's remarks sought to create a perception that PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has made some new demands whereas the fact is that no fresh demand has been made.

"I think there is some miscommunication and no new condition has been put forth. It's better that both parties sit together and clear the air. Our doors are not closed," Baig said.

Baig said PDP has asked for an assurance from the Centre that it will look into the demands, which are a part of the agenda of alliance, raised by the PDP chief.

About vacating of land by the army, Baig said that the Army has taken out its men and material from Tatoo ground on the outskirts of Srinagar city.

"They are only holding the land on paper while the Army has been given land in lieu of that. So, what's the issue in that? This land can be used by the Union Government for building a national institute," he said.

Another issue flagged by Baig, a former deputy chief minister and Finance Minister of the state, was that of enhancement of relief to flood victims.

"We have said that relief to some of the flood victims could be enhanced after thorough verification. This is not something unjustified. People of the state were Indian citizens first and residents of Kashmir later," he said.

He said both the parties should learn to "trust each other" and allay all fears.

"I have maintained in the past that the agenda of alliance should not be a mere power-sharing agreement. It's a very good document which needs to be implemented in good faith."

Talking to reporters earlier in the day, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said: "There is no progress. As far as we are concerned there is no change in conditions that existed when Mufti Mohammed Sayeed sahab was the Chief Minister. The only change is that Mufti Saheb is no longer there and it was for PDP to appoint a new leader and carry on."

Replying to questions on Mehbooba Mufti-Amit Shah meeting, which took place yesterday, Madhav said: "There is no change in our stand. We have told them that a new government should be formed on the basis on conditions that existed earlier."

PDP with 27 MLAs and BJP with 25 members had formed an alliance on March one last year with Sayeed as the Chief Minister. Both the sides had formed an "Agenda of Alliance" which sought to address internal and external dimension of the state.

Asked about the new demands put forward by the PDP chief, Madhav had said in clear terms that "whatever fresh has to done has to be done after government formation".

"The first thing is that no new demand is acceptable to us and the second thing is that if there are new demands then it can be taken up once a new government takes over.”

"A state government always has a right to make demands to the Centre. A government cannot be formed on the basis of conditions," he said.

The PDP had toughened its stance after Sayeed's demise by seeking concrete plans for the state's development including handing over of power projects to the state and vacation of land by Army before the coalition could be resumed.

Governor's rule was imposed in the state on January 8 after Mehbooba decided against taking over the reins after her father's death.

(With Agency inputs)