As the BJP and PDP inched closer to forming a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, both parties are keeping their fingers crossed in the wake of tensions along the India-Pakistan border.In the course of informal talks, the two sides are understood to have worded a proposal that government will “strive for normalising relations with Pakistan to begin a meaningful dialogue process to discuss all contentious issues.” With this being a crucial aspect of an understanding between the BJP and PDP, there is concern about the firing at the border casting a shadow on the talks, sources said.However, the BJP and PDP struck conciliatory notes on Monday.In the Capital, BJP’s Ram Madhav said there has been some forward movement. “There has been an initiative from the PDP’s side. To take this forward, we discussed to hold further discussions on issues,” he said after the state’s core group leaders met BJP President Amit Shah here.During the 90-minute meeting, the state leaders entrusted the party leadership to take forward the process of negotiations, sources said. While they conveyed their keenness on BJP’s participation in government to break the jinx of being perpetually in Opposition in the state, the state leaders cautioned against compromising on the party’s basic ideology.Sources said they also expressed misgivings over the central leadership sending a response to PDP through an intermediary on Saturday when Shah had invited them for discussions on Monday. They objected to the BJP agreeing for PDP’s Mufti Mohd Sayeed being the chief minister for the entire six years. The BJP president told them no such assurance has been given during the informal communication to the PDP and so far only “talking points” have been circulated to work out a common minimum programme for running the government.The intermediary who took the BJP’s points to the PDP has not yet come back with a response from the PDP and as such the BJP put off any interaction with the Mufti’s party till Wednesday, the sources said.While the two parties had neared an understanding on issues like chief ministership and Article 370, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) continues to be a bone of contention between the BJP and PDP, sources said.Both parties are forming four-five member high-level teams to hold talks on the proposed alliance.In Srinagar, PDP chief spokesperson Nayeem Akhtar said if government formation was the only issue they could have aligned with any party be Congress, BJP or even National Conference. “But the question is if we go with Congress or NC can we solve the issues which are in the domain of central government.”He said reconciliation, dialogue, cross-LoC trade, revocation of AFSPA and return of power projects are some of the basic issues which PDP has promised to people. “Can we get back even one power project from the center if we go with NC or Congress?” Akhtar asked. He said rehabilitation of flood victims needed Rs 50,000 crore.But, he said that his party will never make any compromise with regional aspirations and political issues.Finance minister Arun Jaitley was quoted by PTI as saying it was “very difficult” for political parties to give up their ideological position but hinted that controversial issues could be set aside.

Excerpt from: 

Eyes on the border as BJP, PDP get closer