The Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of both the BJP and the PDP for Jammu and Kashmir would comprise 40 points. Sources tell Oneindia that nearly all the points in the CMP would focus around the development of Kashmir and there is very little emphasis by both sides regarding Article 370 and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
The CMP will be released on March 1 at 3 PM by the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir who would be from the PDP and the BJP respectively.
AFSPA, Article 370 on backburner:
Both sides realized that any discussion regarding the AFSPA or Article 370 would result in no result. Article 370 which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir was a subject raised first by the BJP who wanted it removed.
However the PDP would never agree to this. On the other hand the AFSPA was something that the PDP wanted removed, but the BJP was not in favour of it due to pressure from the army.
The AFSPA grants powers to the army to raid and conduct searches and also arrest people believed to be indulging in militant activities.
With regards to Article 370 the BJP and the PDP have left it open for debate. A panel would go into the issue and give its recommendations and many term this is as a process which would never see the light of the day.
Army pressure on AFSPA:
The army was extremely upset that the BJP was even discussing the AFSPA. In Kashmir it is impossible to carry out operations unless and until the army has a strong backing of the law.
The army made it extremely clear that it would demoralize the entire force if there was any amendment to the AFSPA. The BJP was running into problems during the government formation due to this issue.
However, later it was decided that AFSPA would be taken out gradually. Areas which had seen a marked improvement in terms of law and order would be identified and AFSPA taken out.
However, this would be a call for the army to take. Only the army could analyse the situation and report to the government about the areas which have seen improvement.
The army is, however, very sceptical about withdrawing AFSPA even from areas that have improved in terms of law and order.
Army officials who had earlier told Oneindia that AFSPA is not a political issue now say that withdrawing it in improved areas could have its drawbacks.
There is no guarantee that militants will not try and return to areas where AFSPA has been withdrawn, the officer also informed.