PDP meeting on alliance with BJP begins in Srinagar

Jammu/Srinagar, Jan 17: A crucial meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to decide on the party’s alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party in Jammu and Kashmir began in Srinagar on Sunday.

Senior party leaders and functionaries, including Lok Sabha members and former ministers, are present at the meeting at ‘Fair View’, the chief minister’s official residence on the high-security Gupkar Road here.

It is the first political meeting presided over by PDP president Mehbooba Mufti after the death of her father and chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7 at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.

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Senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar told IANS: “We will discuss the performance of the PDP-BJP alliance in the last 10 months when Mufti Sahib headed the coalition government.”

“We will also discuss our party’s future vis-a-vis our experience during the coalition’s rule in the state,” the former education minister said.

Asked about the alliance with the BJP in future, Akhtar said, “Wait and watch. You will get answers to all your questions. Everything will be discussed during the course of today’s meeting.”

Meanwhile, former chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Sunday did a U-turn on his statement a day earlier that his National Conference was ready to discuss government formation if the BJP approached it.

“I never said we are prepared to form the next state government with the BJP,” he told the media in Jammu.

“All I said was the PDP and the BJP should quickly sort out their differences and give people the much-needed elected government in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

“Ours is a border state. We are passing through a difficult period. The people need an elected government and the uncertainty should be ended.”

Asked if his National Conference was mulling options to form the government, he said, “Don’t try to create confusion. We don’t have the mandate to form the government right now.”

Abdullah called on Governor N.N. Vohra in Jammu on Saturday evening, fuelling speculations that the NC leader was getting active to attempt formation of another alliance in the state.

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