Mehbooba for change in terms of alliance with BJP before taking over as CM

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Mehbooba Mufti, Photo: Shailendra Pandey
Mehbooba Mufti, Photo: Shailendra Pandey

People’s Democratic Party president and MP Mehbooba Mufti wants to change the terms of engagement with the alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party, it was learnt on 12 January.

Mehbooba is seeking to gain the upper hand in the coalition and is also against the rotation of the chief minister, which was agreed to by her father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed.

After the Mufti’s death, Mehbooba aims to ensure complete support within the party before she taking over as the chief minister. Mehbooba’s swearing in ceremony is may be next week.

The PDP is not considering the Congress and National Conference’s offer to form the government, but is using them to talk terms with the BJP.

The BJP is, however, confident that the alliance will continue in the state. The BJP is waiting for the PDP to make its first move. The BJP does not want the rules of engagement to be tinkered with. The issue was discussed during the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh meeting in Jalgaon recently.

On the political tussle in Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference president Omar Abdullah tweeted, “So many people have written pieces about what Mehbooba is doing by delaying government formation, but have any of them actually spoken to her directly?”

Sonia Gandhi’s recent visit to Srinagar had set political tongues wagging even as the Congress president travelled there to convey her condolences to Mehbooba Mufti.

The significance of the visit was not lost, for three reasons. First, Gandhi and Mufti have maintained close ties ever since Congress-PDP alliance of 2002, and even after Rahul Gandhi preferred an Omar Abdullah-led NC-Congress alliance in 2008. Second, after PDP and BJP formed the government a year ago, there were reports of Mehbooba being uneasy with the alliance. And third, BJP has communicated its concerns over post-Sayeed coalition chemistry.