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J&K: PDP, BJP may form coalition soon, no agreement on Article 370, AFSPA yet

According to sources, the two parties have reached an agreement where PDP will get the CM's post while the Deputy chief Minister will be from the BJP.

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Updated:February 16, 2015, 8:36 AM IST
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J&K: PDP, BJP may form coalition soon, no agreement on Article 370, AFSPA yet
According to sources, the two parties have reached an agreement where PDP will get the CM's post while the Deputy chief Minister will be from the BJP.

New Delhi: The deadlock over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir may see an end soon with People's Democratic Party Chief Mufti Mohammed Sayeed likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the PDP have come to an understanding on contentious issues and are likely to start a "structured dialogue" to carve out a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) for government formation.

According to sources, the two parties have reached an agreement where PDP will get the Chief Minister's post while the Deputy chief Minister will be from the BJP. However, the bone of contention between the two parties is over their stand on the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Article 370.

Chief Spokesman of PDP Naeem Akhtar said that a team of both the parties will soon meet to firm up the CMP which will lay down the framework for governance in the state. With efforts afoot to have a Government in place in the state before Parliament Session beginning February 23, BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav had a series of meetings with state BJP leaders including state unit President Jugal Kishore and party in-charge of the state Avinash Rai. Some of the state leaders held a meeting with BJP President Amit Shah on Sunday, a move which is being seen as a run up to announcement of BJP's team for the structured dialogue with PDP.

BJP has 25 MLAs after results for the state Assembly were declared on December 23. PDP, which has 28 MLAs, has already named a team of six leaders including two MPs Muzzafar Hussain Baig and Tariq Hameed Qarra besides Akhtar, MLAs Haseeb Drabu and Altaf Bukhari and Vikramaditya Singh. BJP has in-principle agreed for a six-year term for PDP patron Mufti Mohammed Sayeed while the party will hold the post of Deputy Chief Minister which is expected to be given to state BJP leader Nirmal Singh.

Akhtar said there has been "significant progress" towards formation of the Government, adding, "I expect the structured dialogue to begin soon". Asked how soon the talks can begin, he said "it can be tomorrow, day after or next week. I cannot tell you when it will happen. All I can say is that this is happening soon". To a query whether all the contentious issues between the two parties had been sorted out, the PDP Chief Spokesman said "I can say that the areas of differences are narrowing down".

BJP leaders, who have been involved in back channel talks with the PDP, said government formation was taking time as the two parties, with different ideologies, were coming together for the first time. "So it will take sometime to come on a common platform, especially on contentious issues," the BJP leader said.

The two parties are holding discussions on ironing out differences on issues like Article 370(special status to J and K), controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act, adoption of soft-stand vis-a-vis separatists, granting of special status to the state and West Pakistan Refugees.

(With PTI inputs)

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