PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti has reached Prime Minister Narendra Modi residence.
The talks are expected to break the stalemate on government formation in Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP has already made it clear over the weekend that it will not accept any new conditions for government formation.
The fact is, two partners extremely unwilling to tie up with one another are wearing their heart on their sleeve.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) does not want to appear too eager to form the government in partnership with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The BJP is equally conscious that with PDP as an ally, it would have to make several political compromises. But it also knows that it neither has the strength nor the political capital (candidates put up by it in the valley came third) to form a government on its own.
While in the past the BJP and the National Conference (NC) have been in alliance, this time, with so much said and done, it doesn’t seem possible.
So there are no other alliance partners. It is either a BJP-PDP alliance or fresh elections.
The PDP has made it clear to their party boss Mehbooba Mufti that fresh elections is not an option. So both BJP and PDP want to show their respective constituencies – PDP in the valley and BJP in Jammu – that they are in no hurry. It is also a way for the leadership to try and outstare each other.
Meanwhile, like everywhere else, it is also about the money. The PDP want to show that though in the past J&K used to be shortchanged – the centre used to promise money and then not pay – this time, money for the reconstruction of the state after the floods in 2014 will have to come upfront before any political promises can be made. The centre has already signed an MoU with the World Bank to enable the J&K government to access rehabilitation funds at nominal rates of interest. But Mehbooba is asking for more.