Governor invites PDP, BJP over government formation (Intro Roundup)

Jammu/Srinagar/New Delhi, Feb 1 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra on Monday asked the PDP and the BJP to meet him on Tuesday regarding government formation but the two appeared to be drifting apart.

Political sources in Srinagar said that after being delayed by three weeks, government formation was looking increasingly a remote possibility.

In Srinagar, PDP legislators met and asked their president Mehbooba Mufti to meet Vohra in the winter capital Jammu on Tuesday.

“The MLAs authorized Mehbooba Mufti to convey the legislature party’s views to the governor,” senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar told reporters.

The legislators did not elect Mehbooba Mufti, an MP, leader of the legislature party in the 87-member state assembly. Party leaders said the matter was not even discussed.

The state came under Governor’s Rule on January 8, a day after Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed — Mehbooba’s father — died. He had headed an alliance of his PDP and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Mehbooba has said she would not stake claim to power in the state unless the central government gave assurances on time-bound implementation of the agenda of alliance between her party and the BJP.

She is not a member of the hung assembly and represents Anantnag in the Lok Sabha. There has been speculation that she may ditch the BJP and embrace the Congress and smaller parties.

BJP state president Sat Pal Sharma meanwhile flew to New Delhi with former deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh and Lok Sabha MP Jugal Kishore and met party general secretary Ram Madhav and president Amit Shah.

Earlier in the day, Sharma said in Jammu that there were no preconditions from the BJP vis-a-vis the PDP.

He also said there were no differences between the two parties and hoped that an elected government comprising the PDP and BJP would soon be in place in the state.

But he ruled out any further assurances on the alliance agenda.

Sources told IANS that BJP has decided not to bow before any pressure from PDP.

“Our stand is clear. PDP will have to come forward for the government formation. Let them decided a leader then we will take a call,” a BJP leader told IANS on the conditions of anonymity.

However, he added, “We have our own plans too if Mehbooba remains rigid to her decision. If she is planning to form government with Congress and others regional parties and independents, this will not be possible. Two of the legislators of Jammu and Kashmir People Conference led by Sajjad Gani Lone and one of the three independents are with us.”

Governor Vohra has asked both the PDP and the BJP to call on him on Tuesday to discuss government formation. Leaders of both parties will meet him separately.

On Sunday, Mehbooba Mufti told her party colleagues she was was not ready to become the chief minister of the state “for nothing”.

The sources say it is now a game of brinkmanship between the PDP and the BJP.

Meanwhile, Vohra is reported to have finalized a list of advisors he needs to run the country’s only Muslim-majority state during Governor’s Rule.

Under its own constitution, the state can be under Governor’s Rule for six months.

If the governor is convinced there are no chances of a government taking power, he can recommend dissolution of the state assembly and seek fresh elections.

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