PDP sets difficult conditions for BJP to join govt in J&K

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the largest party in Jammu and Kashmir today set tough conditions for the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) which is eager to form a government in the Muslim majority state, saying that its stand against revocation of Art 370 was "non-negotiable".

PDP, with 28 seats in the 87-member assembly sees a stronger ally in BJP, but finds it difficult to do business with it, largely because of its stance against special status for J&K and its reluctance to relax the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

The deadlock over government formation in the state is likely to continue with the PDP making it clear that it will not compromise on Article 370 and the Armed Force Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti assured her party cadre and the people that whatever decision her party takes, it will be in the largest interest of the state.

"The mandate given by the people to the PDP to represent the political aspirations and economic interests of all the regions and sub-regions of Jammu and Kashmir would be represented and valued in adequate measure," she said.

With the 17 January deadline for government formation, the PDP, however, has not yet responded to Congress and National Conference (NC)'s unconditional support while it has held preliminary talks with the BJP.

The National Conference, which has 15 seats and Congress with 12 seats, have already announced support to PDP to form the government to keep the BJP away.

For the record, PDP said that "all options are open and that no decision has been taken yet" but there were reports it was facing stiff opposition from a substantial chunk of its newly-elected MLAs to any tie up with BJP.