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PDP hints at ties with BJP, but Mehbooba in no hurry to be CM


Srinagar: Meeting nine days after Jammu and Kashmir was brought under Governor’s rule, the PDP’s core group met today and indicated it was veering to the idea of forming a coalition government with BJP, but its president Mehbooba Mufti told the meeting she was in no hurry to take over as chief minister.

The meeting also authorised Mehbooba to take a final call on government formation.

“The core group has authorised party president Mehbooba to take whatever decision on it (government formation),” PDP leader Naeem Akhtar said after the marathon 5-hour meeting of the party’s core group.

Akhtar said the PDP has not set any conditions for government formation with the BJP, but refused to set any deadline for it, too. “No conditions on part of the PDP,” he said. Asked how soon will the government be formed, he said “no timeline.”

“The most important point in the vision of Mufti Sahib was reconciliation between India and Pakistan,” he said.

Akhtar, a trusted aide of the late chief minister, said the party welcomed the Prime Minister’s Lahore visit last month and the maturity shown by the Centre in the wake of the Pathankot attack.

“It was his (Sayeed’s) belief that India-Pakistan friendship is necessary for Kashmir as it has been a victim of hostilities between the two countries,” he said.

A senior leader, who was present in the meeting, however, said Mehbooba told the party leaders she was in no hurry and would take over as chief minister only after she is convinced that she can translate into reality her father’s vision for the state.

“Mehbooba made it clear at the meeting of the party’s Core Group that she is not in a hurry to form the government or become the chief minister of the state.

“She said no one can force the decision on her,” he told PTI speaking on the condition of anonymity.

“The PDP president told the party meeting that she did not doubt the wisdom of her late father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in joining hands with the BJP to form a government last year.

“She said she wanted to be convinced that she can implement her father’s mission and vision for Jammu and Kashmir before taking a call on government formation,” the leader said.

He said the tone of Mehbooba’s speech indicated that government formation in the state might be delayed till the Centre reaches out to the PDP president, who was reportedly unhappy about the way Sayeed was treated in his last days.

The PDP chief was reportedly unhappy over Prime Minister Narendra Modi not having visited Sayeed when he was admitted to AIIMS in Delhi before his death though he had paid tributes to the leader at the airport when his mortal remains were being shifted to the state. Congress president Sonia Gandhi had visited Sayeed in the hospital and also called on Mehbooba in Srinagar after his death.

“Contrary to perception that a new government will be in place very soon, it might take longer than just few days,” he added.

Governor’s Rule was imposed in the state with effect from January 8, a day after Sayeed’s death, as the PDP and BJP, alliance partners in state government since March 1, 2015, failed to stake claim for formation of a new dispensation.

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