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PDP rules out compromise on Article 370, AFSPA; J&K government formation deadlocked

BJP is exploring all possibilities to create history by heading or joining the coalition government in the state.

Abid Soffi | IBNLive.comabidsoffi

Updated:December 27, 2014, 8:29 PM IST
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PDP rules out compromise on Article 370, AFSPA; J&K government formation deadlocked
BJP is exploring all possibilities to create history by heading or joining the coalition government in the state.

Srinagar: Four days have passed since Jammu and Kashmir Assembly election results were declared but the deadlock over government formation continues as the single largest party Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday said that it will not compromise on issues like Article 370 and Armed Force Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

Rejecting rumors that PDP has discarded National Conference (NC) offer of 'unconditional support', PDP chief spokesperson Naeem Akhtar said that till now no formal proposal has been received from the Omar Abdullah-led party.

"We have not received any formal request by the NC over government formation. All this talk about NC offering to support a PDP-led government is coming through media, which is not the proper way," he told IBNLive.

When asked if PDP is willing to consider an alliance with NC, Akhtar said, "If we receive any formal request, it will be treated with respect and we will consider it."

"As the people of the state made PDP the single largest party because of the issues we had raised, we can't compromise on them now just to come to power. It is our duty and responsibility to stand on those promises. The party cannot compromise on Article 370," he said.

Seeking an assurance that Article 370, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, will not be changed, he said, "We have also made it clear that AFSPA should be withdrawn where it is not needed following improvement in the situation."

Akhtar also rejected any meeting between PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said no such plan is in the pipeline in the near future.

Earlier in the day, in order to avoid any speculation and confusion due to comments made by some of its party leaders, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said that only party chief spokesman Akhtar is authorised to articulate the party's views in the media on policy matters.

On the other hand the BJP, which has failed to achieve 'Mission 44' plus, is exploring all possibilities to create history by heading or joining the coalition government in the state. "We have got crucial mandate in J&K. We will have a role in government formation. PDP and NC both have mandate. Discussions are going on," BJP leader Ram Madhav said.

He also met Peoples Conference (PC) chairman and separatist-turned-politician Sajjad Gani Lone, seeking his support as the party has two MLAs in the House. But, Lone, who won from Handwara seat, said his party has not yet decided about extending support to any government.

There seems to be no end to the troubles for the BJP as CPI (M) state general secretary Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami and two other MLAs have announced support for any non-BJP 'secular' government in the state.

Rejecting BJP's claims that it has the support of six independent MLAs, Tarigami said that two other MLAs, Er Rashid of Langate and Hakeem Mohammad Yasin of Khansahib, are willing to support any non-BJP government in the state.

Congress has also offered support to PDP to keep BJP out of power in the state. Senior Congress leader and former chief minister of the state Ghulam Nabi Azad went on to say that a grand coalition between PDP, NC and Congress can be worked out to keep BJP out of power in the state.

Though the deadline for the formation of the next government is January 19, Governor NN Vohra has written letters to PDP and BJP, which is the second largest with 25 seats in the 12th assembly, inviting them to negotiate and find out ways to end the deadlock as no party could reach the magic figure of 44 in the 87-member House.

The Governor apparently wanted to avoid a repeat of 2002 when the government could not be formed for 22 days pushing the state towards a spell of Governor's rule. The parties have also been conveyed the message that if they are not able to cobble together numbers, then they could tell the Governor about their position when they meet him.

With still three weeks left for the expiry of the deadline for formation of next government in Jammu and Kashmir, it needs to be seen if BJP is able to make a breakthrough and convince PDP to form an alliance with the saffron party and at what cost.

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