Mehbooba-Shah meeting tomorrow; Govt in J&K likely on March 1

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New Delhi, Feb 23:  A PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, is likely to be sworn-in on March 1 with the two parties sorting out all issues, including differences over AFSPA and Article 370.

To give finishing touches to formalisation of the alliance, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti is likely to meet BJP President Amit Shah here on Tuesday after seven-week long negotiations between the two parties. It will be followed by a meeting between PDP patron Sayeed with Prime Minister Minister Narendra Modi later this week.

Mehbooba-Shah meeting tomorrow

Swearing-in ceremony is likely to take place on March 1, sources privy to the talks said here today. The sources said the swearing-in date was chosen keeping in mind that it is an 'auspicious day'. While Sayeed will be Chief Minister for entire six-year term, BJP's Nirmal Singh is likely to be Deputy Chief Minister, the sources said.

Sayeed had earlier headed a coalition government with Congress for three years from 2002. In the Assembly polls held in December last year, PDP emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats while BJP got 25 seats in the 87-member House.

Ruling out possibility of any last-minute hitch, the sources said the deal has been sealed and the Common Minimum Programme would be released after Sayeed-Modi meeting. Both parties have kept under wraps the details of the CMP, particularly with respect to the Article 370 and Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), the two issues over which the two parties have completely opposite views.

Swearing-in ceremony in J&K is likely to take place on March 1

The CMP needs to be read in totality and not in bits and pieces, leaders from the two parties said. 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 sources, the portfolios have also been finalised 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.

PTI

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