Srinagar/Mumbai | As the impasse over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir persisted for the 11th day today, BJP today said said talks were on with both PDP and NC but there has been no fruitful outcome yet.
BJP President Amit Shah gave his assessment on the status of government formation in the state even as PDP’s chief spokesman Naeem Akhtar said back channel contacts and consultations were going on but the stage for formal talks had not been reached yet.
The comments by Shah and Akhtar came a day after BJP sought more time from Governor N N Vohra in view of the ongoing dialogue with parties on government formation.
Talks are on with both parties. There has been no fruitful outcome (yet), Shah told reporters in Mumbai. We want to form government in Jammu & Kashmir, Shah, who was in Mumbai to review BJP’s membership drive in Maharashtra, said. Governor Vohra has set January 19 deadline for formation of the government in the state where Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) has emerged as the largest party with 28 seats in the 87-member Assembly but way short of a majority.
BJP is the second largest party with 25 MLAs. National Conference(NC) bagged 15 seats while Congress got 12. Smaller parties and independents accounted for seven seats.
No formal talks have been initiated for government formation so far with the BJP or any other political party, Akhtar told PTI in Srinagar.
PDP leadership held several rounds of intra-party discussions over the past week and has been undecided on any future alliance in view of stiff opposition to a partnership with BJP by a section of newly-elected MLAs. BJP on the other hand has been aggressively pursuing the possibility of allying with any regional outfit so that it comes to power in the state for the first time.
With National Conference working President Omar Abdullah, who is in England to visit his parents after their organ transplant surgeries, not expected to be back before January 6, not much headway is expected to be made in government formation. Soon after the results were announced on December 23, BJP sent senior leaders, party general secretary, Ram Madhav and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for discussions with the newly elected party MLAs in Jammu. Madhav flew to Srinagar the same day and met several leaders of valley-based political parties including PDP’s Muzaffar Hussain Baigh.
There was no headway in the talks as PDP sought assurances on its core agenda of starting a political process for resolution of Kashmir issue and revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). The regional party also insisted on an assurance over safeguarding the Article 370 of the Constitution, which guarantees special status to the state. PDP and BJP leaders met Governor N N Vohra, who had invited them for discussions, on either side of the New Year’s eve.
After meeting the Governor, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti had praise for former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, hinting towards the possibility of her party joining hands with with the BJP. After a BJP delegation met the Governor yesterday, the party has softened its stand saying they were not in a hurry to form the government and had sought more time.
Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, BJP president Amit Shah said, We want to participate in J&K government formation keeping in view public mandate, in talks with both parties, no fruitful outcome yet. The political parties have till January 19 to cobble up an alliance for government formation before the Governor can impose Governor’s rule in the state.
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