Just when people in J&K were looking forward to PDP and BJP to form the government again in the next week, BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav killed the immediate prospect of it in a dramatic new statement on Thursday.
Speaking a day after PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s meeting with BJP president Amit Shah which had brightened chances of an early announcement of the government formation, Madhav said that BJP was not ready to accept any “fresh conditions” from PDP.
“We are not ready to accept any new demand. Whatever expectations are there, would be possibly fulfilled only after formation of a government,” Madhav told media. “It’s not possible to form the government on conditions”.
Madhav’s statement was quickly responded by PDP with a series of tweets which asserted that the party had sought nothing new but wanted the good-faith implementation of an already agreed Agenda of Alliance.
“PDP did not seek anything outside the pre agreed Agenda of Alliance from the BJP,” the PDP shot back. “PDP has not set any new demands but only reiterated the implementation of ‘Agenda of Alliance’ as was earlier agreed with BJP”.
The subsequent tweets specifically outlined the agreed points in the Agenda of Alliance and sought action on them as a pre-condition for government formation.
“PDP sought back power projects in Agenda of Alliance, which successive govt’s before us had willingly given away. This is power to people,” read another post. “Agenda Of Alliance sought to include Srinagar & Jammu in the Smart Cities announced in this year’s budget. PDP sought a follow up on that only”.
What happened overnight? PDP leadership feigns ignorance. “Things seemed to be going in the right direction. We don’t know what changed overnight,” said a PDP leader. “Now they (BJP) seem to have almost called off the coalition”.
According to PDP sources, Mehbooba-Shah meeting had gone off well. Mehbooba was scheduled to meet the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday to finalize the government formation. But then meeting was unilaterally called off.
“She was told to form the government first and then bring up her demands before the Prime Minister,” a senior PDP leader said wishing not to be named as he was not authorised to speak to press.
Madhav’s statement came soon after.
“The prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir is not because of us. After Mufti Saheb’s death, PDP had to choose a leader for the chief minister’s post,” he said. “Whatever fresh has to done has to be done after government formation”.
According to PDP sources, PDP’s immediate demands for the government formation include the return of power projects, smart city status for Jammu and Srinagar, vacation of the Army from illegally-held land and the prompt release of the sanctioned funds for the flood relief and rehabilitation.
However, while BJP is ready to concede on smart cities, Army occupied land and the flood relief, it isn’t inclined to relent to power projects owned by NHPC in the state
Senior PDP leader and the party spokesman Naeem Akhter said a action on the Agenda of Alliance was important for PDP’s continued political relevance in the state. “Agenda of Alliance is not a piece of paper. It is meant to be acted upon,” Akhter said. “People have reposed faith in us. We have to deliver to retain their trust”.