Srinagar: BJP general secretary Ram Madhav met PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar on Wednesday for the first formal talks over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir which has been under Governor’s Rule for over a month.
Madhav, who arrived in Srinagar in a chartered plane, drove straight to the residence of Mehbooba where the two held one-on-one meeting for nearly an hour, highly placed sources said.
The BJP leader, who was instrumental in firming up the coalition government under late PDP leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed last year, did not speak to the media after the meeting and left for the airport to return to Delhi.
This was the first formal meeting between senior BJP and PDP leaders over government formation in the state, which is under Governor’s Rule since 8 January, a day after the sudden death of incumbent Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
Mehbooba, who is seen as the successor to her father as the Chief Minister, had recently talked tough over government formation, demanding that BJP’s government at the Centre should take some “confidence building measures” to address the “core” political and economic issues of the state within a set timeframe.
Some of the issues on which the PDP wants the Centre to take steps include revocation of AFSPA, dialogue with separatists in the state, sanctioning two smart cities for Jammu and Kashmir and return of power projects to the state.
However, recently senior PDP leader Muzaffar Beigh spoke in conciliatory terms, saying the party only wants implementation of the Agenda of Alliance in a timeframe.
Madhav’s visit was kept a closely-guarded secret as state leaders of the BJP and other leaders of the PDP were reportedly unaware about it.
But, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah dropped hints about Madhav’s visit by tweeting about arrival of an “unscheduled” flight at the Srinagar Airport.
“Unscheduled flight VTJSG just landed in Srinagar after normal operation hours. Something is cooking with the PDP-BJP government formation,” Omar tweeted.
Unscheduled flight VTJSG just landed in Srinagar after normal operation hours. Something is cooking with the PDP-BJP government formation.
— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) February 17, 2016