BJP-PDP differences ironed out, says Mufti

BJP-PDP differences ironed out, says Mufti

BJP-PDP differences ironed out, says Mufti

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patriarch Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Tuesday said differences with the BJP over contentious issues like Article 370 and AFSPA have been ironed out in the common minimum programme (CMP).

His statement comes just a few hours after the formal announcement on government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.  Mufti, who is likely to take over as the next chief minister on March 1, said: “It would be a historic opportunity for the PDP-BJP alliance to remove the decades of mistrust between the two regions (Kashmir and Jammu) of the state.

“The PDP will ensure representation from and empowerment of all sections of society. The mandate given by the state Assembly elections late last year had made it inevitable for the two parties to come together to deliver on peace and development agenda,” he told reporters.

Two months after the fractured mandate given by December 23 Assembly polls, the formal announcement about the tie-up was made at a joint press interaction with BJP president Amit Shah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti after a meeting at the former's residence.   Shah said, “After several rounds of talks on different issues, there is near-consensus on a CMP, and very soon the people of Jammu and Kashmir will have a popular alliance government of the PDP and the BJP.” 

An elated Mehbooba said the coalition was not for power-sharing but winning the hearts and minds of Kashmiris.

Mufti, who is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Thursday before taking oath, justified the alliance, saying: “There was no other option. We had offers of support from the National Conference as well as the Congress, but governance is not our only aim. We have to also deliver on the peace agenda.”

Mufti had earlier headed a coalition government in the state with the Congress for three years from 2002.“The swearing-in ceremony will be held either on February 27 or March 1, as Budget will be presented in Parliament on February 28 and most MPs and Central ministers will be busy there,” sources told Deccan Herald.

They said 12 ministers, including six each from the PDP and the BJP will take oath along with the chief minister at Zorawar Auditorium in Jammu. “The likely ministers from the PDP include party chief spokesman and MLC Naeem Akhtar, and MLAs Abdul Rehman Veeri, Haseeb Drabu, Choudhary Zulfikar, Abdul Haq Khan and Altaf Bukhari,” said sources, adding that the BJP's Nirmal Singh would take oath as deputy chief minister while party MLAs Bali Baghat, Sham Choudhary, Kavinder Gupta, Choudhary Lal Singh and Abdul Gani Kohli will be cabinet ministers.

Separatist-turned-mainstream politician Sajjad Lone, whose People’s Conference has two MLAs and has announced support to the BJP, is also set to take oath as a Cabinet minister in the new government.

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