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Mehbooba-Modi meet paves way for govt formation in J&K

Ending the two-month-old political stalemate in the state, Jammu and Kashmir is likely to have a new government as early as next week. This comes after People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti’s “positive” meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the capital on Tuesday.

As Mehbooba met the Prime Minister at his official 7 Race Course residence, a senior PDP leader and former minister Nayeem Akhtar said in Jammu that “hopefully government should be in place by March 29”.

Mehbooba’s meeting with Modi came days after she flew back to Srinagar, rather upset after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) snubbed her over the PDP’s fresh conditions for continuing the ruling alliance in the state.

“It has been a positive meeting with the Prime Minister and I will go back to Srinagar and take the next step,” Mehbooba told the media as she emerged from Modi’s residence.

The 56-year-old leader added that she has called for a legislature party meeting on Thursday and will take further decisions there. “There is a particular forum to make announcements. Everything can’t be announced here,” she said.

The PDP chief is understood to have climbed down on her demands for assurances like handing over of power projects to the state, enhancing relief to flood victims and vacation of land by the Army. She had taken a tough position on these issues following her father, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s death. Mufti was heading the coalition government of PDP-BJP in the state.

“We are seeing a stalemate for the past two to three months over government formation in the state but today (Tuesday) I am satisfied. I am very satisfied,” she said and announced that the party’s future course of action would be announced at the PDP legislature party meeting this Thursday. To a question whether the stalemate has ended, she said: “When you meet Prime Minister of the nation and discussions held are positive, then naturally we find more ways to the solutions of the problems faced by people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

The meeting also cleared the gloom in the BJP camp. Former Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Dr Nirmal Singh termed the meeting as “positive” for government formation. “It (meeting between Mehbooba and Modi) is a positive development (for the formation of new government). It is a good thing and we welcome it,” Singh told reporters in Jammu. 
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