New Delhi: Talking tough on the issue of government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has set a deadline for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti.
According to reports, the second largest party in the state has asked the PDP to clear the air before the Parliament's Budget Session, starting February 23.
The new government is yet to be formed even a month after the death of former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. At a meeting last week with party leaders, Mehbooba had asked party workers to go back to the people in the state to help strengthen the party instead of speaking about government formation.
The PDP has maintained that the Narendra Modi government will have to reach out to the state's people with decisive political and economic confidence-building measures (CBMs) before taking any decision on new government.
Meanwhile, there are reports doing the rounds that PDP may take a call after February 15.
The PDP is the largest party in the 87-member Assembly with 27 seats. It tied up with second largest party, BJP, which has 25 MLAs, to form government. The coalition government ran for nearly 10 months until the demise of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
The latest development comes a day after former CM Omar Abdullah asked the PDP to form an elected government in the state or have the courage to break its alliance with the BJP.
"For ten months the PDP had been praising the alliance with the BJP. Now Mehbooba Mufti has been asking the BJP-led government at the centre to announce CBMs. I don't know whether her party leaders know what these CBMs are, but the people of the state don't know what she is demanding," he said.
"Mehbooba Mufti must spell out clearly what she wants. Otherwise, she must have the courage to break the alliance and seek fresh elections in state," he added.
Abdullah said as far as his NC was concerned, it would not support any alliance in the state, but start preparing for the next elections.
Last week, Governor NN Vohra appointed two retired IAS officers as his advisors, a move seen as another indication that state might remain without an elected government for long.
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav is likely to hold talks with PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti next week as the party makes fresh efforts to break the impasse over formation of government in Jammu and Kashmir following the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
Madhav, who had played a key role in forging alliance with PDP, may meet her after the 40-day mourning period following Sayeed's demise ends next week, party sources said.
PDP wants the central government to make some concessions on its Kashmir-centric political agenda, including relaxation in controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act, a demand the BJP has rejected in the past.
PDP is also pushing for more financial assistance to the state from the Centre.
The regional party apprehends that its alliance with BJP has cost it some popular support and it can recover the lost ground only by pushing its core agenda.
While late chief minister Sayeed was an enthusiastic votary of the tie-up with BJP, her daughter is more ambivalent about it, the sources said.