PDP, BJP go public with differences
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led PDP wants, among other things, an assurance in writing from the BJP that Article 370 will not be tinkered with.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led PDP wants, among other things, an assurance in writing from the BJP that Article 370 will not be tinkered with and the Armed Forces Special Protection Act, or AFSPA, will be rolled back within a specific time frame. However, the BJP has reservations on both the issues.
“We are clear that the alliance cannot be a replica of 1975 accord between Sheikh Abdullah and Indira Gandhi, or the 1987 accord between Rajiv Gandhi and Farooq Abdullah,” a senior PDP leader close to Sayeed said, adding, “We cannot even think of an alliance that Omar Abdullah stitched with Rahul Gandhi in 2008, in which becoming CM was ultimate target.”
BJP, on the other hand, does not want to give any assurance on Article 370, which it has always said it wants repealed to integrate the Valley with the rest of the country. It also wants AFSPA to be left to the new government to discuss while expecting PDP to accept the humanitarian aspect of the West Pakistan refugees issue and relocation and rehabilitation of border residents.
The party, according to people privy to the discussions, referred to the PDP-Congress common minimum programme of 2002 to seek to convince PDP that it had not objected to the rehabilitation of people living on the border and initiating fresh delimitation of assembly segments at the time.
PDP made its agenda public since it is facing questions from its supporters over seeking to form an alliance with the party it had fought tooth and nail in the elections.
While this appeared to have irked the BJP leadership, PDP insisted that it could walk away from the discussions and sit in opposition and would not mind if BJP joined hands with the National Conference.
The PDP chief, who has been spearheading the talks, has been in Mumbai over the past few days while his daughter Mehbooba Mufti, whose photograph at BJP president Amit Shah’s son’s reception went viral on social media in Srinagar, is camping in Delhi.