Jammu & Kashmir soon to get new govt. in a week

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New Delhi: Decks have been cleared for a PDP-BJP government in Jammu & Kashmir possibly within a week with both sides agreeing on a common minimum programme (CMP) which is understood to have addressed controversial issues like Article 370 and AFSPA.Sources privy to the development said PDP patron Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, who is likely to be the chief minister for the entire six year term, will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi early next week when the announcement on government formation is expected to be made.

Ahead of the Mufti-Modi meeting, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti will fly in here on Sunday and meet senior BJP leaders, the sources said.The leaders of the PDP, which has 28 MLAs and BJP with 25 MLAs in the 87-member assembly, chose to keep under wraps details of the CMP as also how the two sides thrashed out contentious issues including Article 370, the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and rehabilitation of nearly 25,000 West Pakistan refugees over which they were sharply divided.

The CMP needs to be read in totality and not in bits and pieces, leaders from both the political parties, who preferred anonymity, stressed.the parties have agreed to put the CMP in public domain ahead of the swearing in of the new government, which will see BJP MLAs sitting on the ruling benches for the first time in the state assembly.

The sources said the state could see a new government “within a week”.PDP and BJP have been in talks ever since the election results on December 23 last gave a fractured verdict. The state is under governor’s rule for over a month.The two sides are understood to have agreed on formation of a committee which will go into the AFSPA issue and suggest areas from where it could be revoked.

On Article 370, while BJP has given no written assurance as demanded by the PDP, the CMP is expected to say that both parties will respect the aspirations of the people of the state within the constitution, the sources indicated.The proposed CMP may also touch upon the issue of more than 25,000 families of West Pakistan refugees by terming it as a humanitarian issue.

According to the sources, the portfolios have also been finalized with the PDP likely to walk away with home and finance while BJP is expected to get tourism and water resources, public health engineering and planning.

BJP’s Nirmal Singh is likely to be nominated deputy chief minister and also take charge of of planning, the sources said.BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, who has been negotiating for government formation with state leaders, denied any compromise on the crucial issues.

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