PDP-BJP govt 'within a week' in J&K, Mufti to be CM: Sources

PDP and BJP have struck a deal over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir and is all set to be sworn-in within a week, top party sources said on Saturday.

PDP-BJP govt 'within a week' in J&K, Mufti to be CM: Sources

Jammu: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have struck a deal over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir and is all set to be sworn-in within a week, top party sources said on Saturday. The two parties are believed to have firmed up a "carefully drafted" Common Minimum Programme (CMP) touching all controversial issues including Article 370 and AFSPA.

As per sources, PDP patron Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, who is likely to become the next chief minister of the state for the entire six-year term, is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi early next week when the announcement on government formation is expected to be made, PTI reported.

The development comes hours after party sources said that PDP has reached an agreement over forming a government in the state with the BJP.

Earlier in the day, sources close to PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, who returned to winter capital Jammu Friday after spending a week in Mumbai, told IANS an agreement had been reached on all contentious issues between the PDP and the BJP.

The two sides are understood to have agreed on formation of a Committee which will go into the AFSPA issue and suggest areas from where it could be revoked.

On Article 370, while BJP has given no written assurance as demanded by the PDP, the CMP is expected to say that both parties will respect the aspirations of the people of the state within the Constitution, the sources indicated.

The proposed CMP may also touch upon the issue of more than 25,000 families of West Pakistan refugees by terming it as a humanitarian issue.

BJP, yesterday, had also given a green signal over the PDP-BJP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir, saying that its talks with PDP are proceeding on "positive lines" and things are "narrowing down" on crucial issues.

Meanwhile, former chief minister Omar Abdullah claimed that the agreement between both the parties was reached much earlier but the regional party was enacting a "drama" all these days to undo the damage it may have to undergo in the Valley.

On Micro-blogging website, Twitter, Omar wrote, "The PDP-BJP tie up was a done deal ages ago, all this was just (PDP patron) Mufti (Mohammad) Sayeed's grandstanding as a tough guy to undo the damage in the Valley." (Sic)

Omar had even accused the PDP of a "sell-out" to BJP on the issue of Article 370 and by helping the BJP win seats in Legislative Council, where the saffron party was unrepresented so far.

Reacting over the development, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “Their (BJP & PDP) alliance has been going on for a long time.”

According to the sources, the portfolios have also been finalised with the PDP likely to walk away with Home and Finance while BJP is expected to get Tourism and Water Resources, Public Health Engineering and Planning.

BJP's Nirmal Singh is likely to be nominated Deputy Chief Minister and also take charge of of Planning, the sources said.

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, who has been negotiating for government formation with state leaders, denied any compromise on the crucial issues.

If "compromise" was to have been made by either side, then a solution to the differences would have been found long ago.

"Both the parties are trying sincerely to arrive at an understanding on CMP of governance. There are a couple of political issues on which traditionally we have held different views. We are trying hard to find a common ground," he said.

In Jammu, BJP MP and incharge of Jammu and Kashmir Avinash Rai Khanna refused to give any details but said that the talks for government formation in the state was in its "final stage" and the state would get a "stable government" in the "shortest possible time."

"I can only say that the dialogue between PDP and BJP that has been going for quite some time is in its final stage," Khanna told PTI.

When asked how long it would take for both the parties to make a formal announcement on the formation of a coalition government in the state he said, "We want it to happen by tomorrow, but I am hopeful that the formal announcement would be made very soon, in the shortest possible time".

President of the state unit of BJP and MP from Jammu, Jugal Kishore Sharma said, "We want to discuss and reach a consensus on all the issues before we make a formal announcement (on government formation). We don't want problems to crop up after we form the government in the state," he said.

The PDP too said that the dialogue with the BJP has "progressed a lot" and there were positive outcomes of the dialogue process.

"The dialogue has progressed a lot, but unless it's not done, it's not done" Chief PDP spokesman Naeem Akhtar said in Jammu. 

The PDP and BJP have been in talks over government formation in the state ever since the December 23 results of the Assembly polls threw up a hung assembly. PDP bagged 28 seats in the 87-member Assembly, while BJP got 25 seats.

(With Agency inputs)

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