J&K impasse: Mehbooba in Delhi, likely to meet PM today

As the deadlock over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir continued, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti came to Delhi on Monday and is likely to have a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow after efforts to revive the coaliton with the BJP hit a roadblock last week.

Mehbooba’s second visit to the national capital in five days after her talks with BJP President Amit Shah on Thursday failed to make any headway triggered speculation that the two parties could be making renewed efforts to reach out to each other in a bid to break the prolonged impasse.

The visit comes a day after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “we stand fully committed as far as agenda of governance is concerned” in J and K.

On her arrival, Mehbooba, after some personal work, remained closeted in her room at the Jammu and Kashmir House in Chanakyapuri and sources in the know said that a meeting with the Prime Minister was likely to be happen tomorrow.

Mehbooba had a meeting this evening with her senior party colleagues including former Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu where final touches was being given for a possible meeting, the sources said.

None of the PDP leaders including Drabu, former Deputy Chief Minister Muzzafar Hussain Baig or party’s Chief spokesperson Nayeem Akthar were answering their phone.

The fresh efforts from PDP, which has 27 MLAs in the 87-member state Assembly, come in the backdrop of repeated assertions made by the BJP that it was committed to implementation of Agenda of Alliance arrived at by her father late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed.

The talks with BJP, which has 25 MLAs, had hit a roadblock last week when party’s interlocutor on the state Ram Madhav made it clear that no fresh demands would be entertained from its former alliance partner PDP and that they decide whether they want to form a government based on the Agenda of Alliance document.

The toughening of stand came as a surprise for Mehbooba who boarded a plane next morning on Friday last week and returned to the state.

Baig, who has been playing a key role in the back-channel talks, had clarified that PDP had made no fresh demands and that there was a miscommunication from both sides leading to derailing of talks.

While there was no official confirmation from PDP side, it was believed that Mehbooba has conveyed her willingness to take over reins of the government and discuss other issues later.

PDP is also understood to have called for a Legislative party meeting on Thursday where she may be elected as its leader.

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.

The PDP had toughened its stance after Sayeed’s demise by seeking concrete plans for the state’s development including handing over of power projects to the state and vacation of land by Army before the coalition could be revived.

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