People's Democratic Party (PDP) has threatened to call off talks with the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) over government formation in Jammu & Kashmir, if its demands on two contentious issues – AFSPA and Article 370 – are not met.
"Our talks on government formation in the state with the BJP have hit a roadblock. Since both parties have varied plans and ideologies, we discussed each other's agendas," The New Indian Express quoted a senior PDP leader as saying.
While the BJP is "non-committal" on PDP's demand to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from peaceful areas in the state, the two parties are unable to agree on how to put forward an agreed position on Article 370.
The BP's position is that AFSPA can be repealed only after concurrence by the defence ministry and the Army; both are opposed to repealing the Act.
He added that efforts are on by both parties to resolve the issues.
The BJP's ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), recently questioned the PDP on the need for Article 370 that grants special status to the state.
"Will you get development by a separate state, flag, citizenship or separate Constitution? Did you get employment and education by it?", RSS National Executive Member Indaresh asked the PDP, reported PTI.
The PDP hardened its position, conveying that it won't compromise its position on the two issues and willing to part ways in the absence of an agreement on the issues.
"We have told them in such a situation, the BJP is free to go its way and we will carry on," the PDP leader said, according to the daily.
Though the BJP will be willing to accept PDP's terms and letting go of AFSPA and maintain the present constitutional status of Article 370, it will have to pass through several roadblocks, especially by its ally RSS, in the way of approval of the two demands.
The Act provides operational flexibility and legal safeguards to operate under any "hostile" environment, The Times of India reported. Therefore, revoking the Act would render the state vulnerable to terror attacks by Pakistan.
The J&K Army also believes that repealing the Act will be a "premature" step as Pakistan still has 44 terror-training camps directed against India, of which at least 17-18 are operating round-the-clock.
"Yes, violence levels in J&K are certainly down, with the state polls being held without any major incident. But the government should adopt a wait-and-watch policy to ensure there is no major terror blowback," TOI quoted an Army official as saying.