Now, Mehbooba angles for confidence boosters

Says Kashmir needs a “good atmosphere, space and a fillip” if a new govt is to be formed

New Delhi : Keeping up the PDP tradition of getting into some hard-nosed bargaining before signing up for an alliance with the BJP, its 56 year old leader Mehbooba Mufti has said that the central government must take some ” confidence building measures” for the coalition government to take shape in the border state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Her statements after a meeting with governor N N Vohra on the issue of government formation made it clear that the stalemate in the state is likely to continue. Now the BJP has to either take these CBMs or get ready for mid-term polls.

Though the PDP leader has refused to specify the CBMs, there are indications that these include written guarantees on the issues like Art. 370, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, and the treatment of the ”separatists.”

 Right now the BJP is not prepared to move beyond the ”agenda for alliance” that was firmed up between the two parties last year when the PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed took over as the chief minister of the state. Now after his demise on January 7th, there has been a political vacuum in the state with his daughter Mehbooba indicating that she is in no haste to step into his shoes.

Speaking to reporters, she said that the state, which is different from others, needs a “good atmosphere, space and a fillip” if a new government is to be formed. “Jammu and Kashmir is a different state, there are different challenges. In Jammu and Kashmir, there are several forces which need to be tackled. We need the Centre to be fully with us,” she added.  Pointing out the difference between her father and herself she said that she neither his vision nor his experience.”

My late father Mufti Sayeed, without bothering about his “political career”, had aligned with Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the hope that the Centre will bring out the state from the difficult situation it is in,” she added.

The PDP leader’s stance on government formation is likely to push the state towards a mid-term poll, considering that no other alternative combination can give a viable government in the state.

The PDP with 27 members in a house of 87 had formed a coalition with the BJP that has a strength of 25.

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