New Delhi: An alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to form a government in Jammu and Kashmir was sealed on Friday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met PDP leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in New Delhi.

Modi will attend the swearing-in ceremony of PDP chief Sayeed as chief minister of the state in Jammu on Sunday. The allies will announce a common minimum programme they will adhere to after the oath-taking ceremony.

“BJP will be part of the government and the common minimum programme will clear all the points of discussion," said the BJP’s Ram Madhav, who was chief negotiator of the party that heads the ruling National Democratic Alliance in New Delhi.

Jammu and Kashmir has been under governor’s rule for the past two months after no political party won a majority in the state assembly elections held in November-December. This is the second time that Sayeed will be chief minister; he is likely to retain the post for the entire term if the alliance holds.

The PDP has 28 members in the 87-seat assembly and the BJP 25. This is the first time that BJP will be part of any government in Jammu and Kashmir. The allies have also decided that a BJP lawmaker will be deputy chief minister. It took the two parties nearly two months to reach common ground as they started on different ideological positions on crucial issues, including Article 370 that provides special status to the state and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which gives the army sweeping powers to combat insurgency.

PDP leaders have asked the central government to hold talks with the Hurriyat group, which wants self-rule in Kashmir, but the BJP leadership said it was the prerogative of the federal government to decide on the talks.

The alliance between the BJP and the PDP was almost finalized after Mehbooba Mufti, daughter of Sayeed, met BJP president Amit Shah last week.

The BJP and the PDP started talking to each other after the assembly election results were announced on 23 December.

“This is the best decision that could have happened for the state given the mandate in the assembly election," said Jitendra Singh, minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office.

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