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Jammu & Kashmir: PDP, BJP to meet Governor jointly; will stake claim to form Govt

FOR MAIN TRIBUNE: Mehbooba Mufti President PDP.

Srinagar: Ending the over two-month deadlock, PDP and BJP are set to jointly call on Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra on Saturday and stake claim to form the new government that will be headed by Mehbooba Mufti who will be the first woman Chief Minister of the state.

A day after Mehbooba, 56, was unanimously elected as the PDP’s legislature party leader and nominated as the party’s CM candidate, 25 members of BJP met in the state’s winter capital here today and elected Nirmal Singh as its leader. Singh will again be the deputy Chief Minister in the new cabinet, a post he had held in the Mufti Mohammed Syeed’s dispensation.

Sources in the know of the developments said that both PDP, which has 27 members in the 87-member Assembly and BJP will seek time from the Governor for tomorrow and stake their claim to form the government.

Mehbooba will hand over a letter staking claim to form the government while Singh will hand over the letter from the BJP side supporting her claim, the sources said. The Governor had summoned both Presidents of PDP and BJP separately for today for consultations on Government formation in the state.

The sources said that both the parties mutually decided to postpone today’s meeting and seek time for a meeting so that their two leaders can jointly call on the Governor and apprise him about the decision of the legislative parties of PDP and BJP.

Earlier in the day, BJP’s interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir Ram Madhav said “legislative party of the BJP in Jammu has decided to support PDP in the formation of the government in the state and together BJP and PDP will approach the Governor and stake the claim for formation of the government very soon.”

Today’s BJP meeting was attended by Madhav, who is also the party’s National General Secretary, and Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh.

Brushing aside rumours over differences over distribution of portfolios, both the parties said the alliance was being worked out on the lines as decided under the leadership of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, who died on January seven this year.

Jitendra Singh ruled out any differences between the coalition partners BJP and PDP and said “there was never a breakdown in the coalition between BJP and PDP. I think this is the continuation of the process which started about a year back.”

“…when you are in a coalition you have to accommodate each other’s priorities and each other’s preferences. That is precisely we do in a healthy coalition to augur well for the state of Jammu and Kashmir.”

“As we have decided to form the government with PDP, we will support the Chief Ministerial candidate of PDP”, BJP state president Sat Sharma said.

PDP and BJP had formed an alliance on March one, last year with Sayeed as the Chief Minister. Both the sides had formed an Agenda of Alliance which sought to address internal and external dimension of the state.

Governor’s rule was imposed in J-K on January 8 after Mehbooba decided against taking over the reins after her father’s death.

When asked about the reasons for BJP deferring its scheduled meeting with Governor, party National General Secretary Ram Madhav said BJP had never sought a specific date from the Governor.

“No, we have not given any time or date to go and meet the Governor. They (BJP) will do that after their meeting with PDP. We will go together to meet the Governor,” Madhav said.