Outgoing Chief Minister Omar Abdullah categorically said on Thursday night that there was "no deal" or any "discussion" going on between his National Conference and the Bharatiya Janata Party over the issue of government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Omar took to Twitter to make this assertion amid speculation that the NC may support the BJP in forming a new government in J&K.
"So many stories doing the rounds about a BJP NC deal. Let me say this as strongly as possible - THERE IS NO DEAL NOR ANY DISCUSSION going on," he said.
In another tweet, Omar hoped that someone from the Peoples Democratic Party, the BJP and the Congress would form a government quickly.
"I hope someone from the PDP/BJP/Cong steps up & forms a government in J&K quickly. Denying stupid rumours is fast becoming a full time job," he said.
Meanwhile, the PDP and the BJP, which emerged as the top two parties in Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections, began talks in Srinagar on government-formation.
BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav, who arrived in Srinagar from Jammu on Thursday evening held two separate rounds of talks with senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig -- the first round at Baig's residence and the second round at a hotel where Madhav is staying.
Madhav, who attended a meeting of a meeting of BJP's newly-elected MLAs in Jammu earlier in the day, also held a series of meetings in Srinagar with leaders of other Valley-based political parties this evening as part of efforts to cobble up a government in the state.
Baig, earlier in the day, said the BJP and PDP leadership should talk to each other for forming the next government.
While the PDP has secured 28 seats, the BJP bagged 25 in the elections to the 87-member state Assembly.
The PDP spokesman Samir Koul told PTI late on Thursday night that lines of communication have been opened with the PDP for government formation.
"Talks are going on with the BJP over government-formation in the state but we are still at infancy stage. It will take some time before we can make any announcements," Koul said.
Asked if PDP would agree to rotational chief ministership with the BJP, Koul said "not at this moment". He said there were certain issues like Article 370 that guarantee a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, on which the PDP is not going to compromise.
"There are differences on certain issues like the political agenda of PDP -- Article 370, revocation of AFSPA from the state -- which we cannot compromise on," he said.
The PDP spokesman said the situation will be clearer in the next three to four days.
Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Ghani Lone, whose party has two MLAs, was the first to meet Madhav at a Srinagar hotel, sources in BJP said.
Sources said PDF chairman Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen, who won the recent assembly polls from the Khan Sahib segment in Budgam district, also met the BJP leader for nearly 30 minutes.
Democratic Party-Nationalist leader Ghulam Hassan Mir, a minister in the outgoing government led by Omar Abdullah, was another prominent leader to meet Madhav, the sources said. Mir was a minister in the National Conference-Congress coalition government from the Congress quota.
Image: Outgoing Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah