Mehbooba meets PM, to meet PDP legislators on Thursday before taking call on coalition govt

Mehbooba meets PM, to meet PDP legislators on Thursday before taking call on coalition govtPDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said on Monday that she will meet with her party legislators on Thursday and then take a decision on resuming the coalition government with the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir.
Mufti said she had a positive meeting with PM Modi earlier in the day.

In he meanwhile, the BJP has hardened its stand on the coalition issue.

“We don’t know what she plans to do. However, we are pretty clear about not giving in to her fresh conditions for restoring the coalition, a senior BJP member said earlier in the week.

“Rather, we are going — assuming that she has changed her mind and wants to resume business with us — to insist on a pledge that she will not engage in the game of brinkmanship which she played for three months when the two parties needed to get together to form the government and fulfil their promises to the people. She has exhausted our patience and will be required to satisfy our leadership about her intent,” the BJP member said.

The BJP member’s remark marked a shift in the dynamic in the negotiations between the two parties because so far, it was Mehbooba who played hardball even as BJP seemed keen to form the government. Media reports from Srinagar said the PDP chief took off for Delhi to hold fresh negotiations with the BJP leadership.

The two parties have time only until April 8, the day when it will be six months since the state assembly held its last sitting, to put together a government.

Sources in BJP said Mehbooba’s last effort to get BJP agree to her terms failed when party chief Amit Shah turned down her demand for a public statement from the Centre promising redress of PDP’s grievances. Shah is learnt to have told Mehbooba that the Centre could give such assurances only to a government and not to a political party.

Mehbooba’s reported readiness to engage with BJP again came amid signs of restiveness among PDP MLAs, some of whom, according to reports, are not averse to splitting from her to join hands with BJP in order to protects their seats. The concern was amplified when, according to agencies, former CM Omar Abdullah told reporters after meeting governor N N Vohra that National Conference did not intend to try forming an alternative government.

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