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Monday, January 18, 2016

Mehbooba calls PDP's first meeting on options of Government formation 

Ex-Ministers, top office-bearers, Baig, Karra to attend meeting

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
JAMMU, Jan 16: Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti has called her organisation's first meeting over the options of the government formation at her Gupkar Road residence in Srinagar on Sunday.

Ten days after the party patriarch and Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s death, PDP high command would seek the former Ministers' views, as also the wisdom of two of its Lok Sabha members, namely Muzaffar Hussain Baig and Tariq Hameed Karra, over the question of forming the new government with late Mufti's coalition partner BJP.

PDP sources told STATE TIMES that only the party’s members in Mufti’s Council of Ministers (Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State), Lok Sabha members Muzaffar Hussain Baig and Tariq Hameed Karra besides the senior office-bearers, including General Secretaries, would participate in the meeting that is scheduled to begin at 2.00 pm at Fairview. Mehbooba would preside over the meeting. No invitation is understood to have gone to other MLAs and MLCs of the PDP. However, PDP President's Political Advisor Peerzada Mansoor Hussain, is expected to be present.

Some of the party leaders are expecting Mr Baig to initiate the discussion with crticism of the BJP's treatment to the PDP and its commitments encapsulated in the common minimum programme known as "Agenda of Alliance". However, according to them, Mr Baig could flag PDP's limited options and constraints and thus set a tone in favour of continuance of the coalition with BJP. He is likely to stress on seeking certain political concessions and assurances from BJP, both at the State and the Central level, besides a larger interaction with the party cadres before initiating the process of the government formation.

As of now, only one senior PDP leader, Mr Karra, has categorically called for cessation of the alliance with BJP, contending in a lengthy statement that the partnership of power with RSS-dominated BJP had caused irreparable damage to the interests of the State as well as PDP. It remains to be seen how Mr Karra would behave in the party's maiden deliberation over the question of continuance, or otherwise, of the alliance with BJP.

Even as a large section of the political observers believes that Sunday's meeting would take the final call whether PDP should continue its alliance with BJP or not, well-placed PDP insiders insisted that Ms Mufti could go for a series of interaction with the party cadres, both in Kashmir and Jammu, before taking the ultimate decision. According to them, there was "very little possibility" of the government formation in the next two weeks.


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