Mehbooba speaks, ‘Will Start Afresh, Alone but Won’t Barter Peoples’ Interests’

Riyaz Ul Khaliq

SRINAGAR

PDP held a party meeting on Sunday at Muftis' Fairview residence. KL Image: Mehbooba Mufti
PDP held a party meeting on Sunday at Muftis’ Fairview residence. KL Image: Mehbooba Mufti

Clearing air as why Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not ready to form government in coalition with right wing Hindu Nationalist Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), Ms Mehbooba Mufti Sunday made it clear that she will prefer start afresh than “barter interests of the people of J&K”.

Winning the highest number of 28 seats, in its history, in state legislature in 2014 Assembly elections in 2014, PDP found itself in tight spot when BJP emerged with 25 seats from Jammu region.

M-Mufti-Sayeed
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed

The government formation witnessed two months of logjam before the PDP and BJP came up with Agenda of Alliance which was prepared by Economist turned lawmaker, Dr Haseeb A Drabu and BJP’s Ram Madhav.

Going against the wind, PDP patron and from CM late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed declared it “history in making” as secularist PDP joined hands with right wing BJP.

Zahid Rasool Bhat who was killed by a communal mob in Udhampur.
Zahid Rasool Bhat who was killed by a communal mob in Udhampur.

However, with the demise of Mufti Sayeed, the cabinet was dissolved and governor rule followed within two days as PDP and BJP failed to stake claims of the government.

A month is about to pass when and Jammu and Kashmir is running without a public government. All eyes were on Fairview as Ms Mehbooba kept silence.

Finally she called meeting of PDP’s core group on January 17 which lasted for over five hours. However, nothing could come out.

Since day one, PDP has been maintaining that Agenda of Alliance is “sacred book” for them. And the party wants implementation on it.

As pressure mounted on PDP to form government, its spokesperson came out with a statement saying that the party is examining as “how much visions of its founder was realised” and “how is it possible to do it in future”. As the statement was public so came the criticism from its arch rival National Conference which lashed out it for “enjoying power in last ten months in government”. The NC asked PDP as what “was it doing when nothing concrete happened in its tenure in government”.

PDP’s coming in to power had many expectations in view of the September 2014 deluge which devastated Kashmir particularly Srinagar. It promised of reviving the business, rehabilitation of the flood affected and reconstruction of the public infrastructure.

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Despite ten months in power, nothing concrete happened even though Rs 80000 Crore package was announced by PM Modi in Srinagar.

More so, the working document between the two coalition partners, Agenda of Alliance, promised many things including return of Hydro power projects which PDP insiders feel was dealt a blow by the union government when the economic package was announced.

Rethinking of controversial AFSPA, engagement with Pakistan and separatists, retrieving of land which has been occupied by the armed forces in J&K. Besides, the coalition partners will not raise or touch “controversial” issues. For PDP, J&K has a special status which BJP thinks is a hindrance for complete merger with union of India. Likewise, the beef ban issue witnessed blanket ban internet in J&K last Eid Ul Azha.

The coming into power of the PDP-BJP combine apparently witnessed communal elements “being empowered”. South Kashmir’s Zahid Rasool was the victim of an attack by a communal mob in Udhampur when they set on fire the truck he was in.

Mehbooba Mufti
Mehbooba Mufti

When Ms Mehbooba rose to speak in Sunday’s meet at her Fairview residence here, she was eloquent, insiders said. “We all know what happened in last ten months when our government ruled J&K,” she is quoted to having said in the meeting, “we will have to reassess whether we can absorb the shocks which Mufti Sahab had to do so frequently in his effort to forge reconciliation between the regions and the people of the State.”

Seeking complete assurance on the implementation of Agenda of Alliance, she has said, “even though me and my party are finished after we form the government but people are benefitted, I will have no regrets.”

The sources said that Ms Mehbooba asserted that her father formed the coalition “only to work for people and Agenda of Alliance was the best tool in such a situation which the 2014 mandate demanded”. “But, if I am not convinced that Agenda of Alliance won’t be implemented I will better start afresh, alone,” she told her party men, “I will have no regrets if I am alone to work for my people”.

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