Muzaffar Baig, the PDP Man With the BJP Tongue
Muzaffar Hussain Baig
NEW DELHI: The first Peoples Democratic Party leader to be on television when the results of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections were still being announced, was Muzaffar Hussain Baig. Normally reticent and media shy, Baig lost little time in grabbing the spotlights so that he could deliver his message regardless of whether it was shared at the time by the top leaders of the PDP: we must have an alliance with the BJP.
For Baig the elections were clearly a tool to realise his own personal ambitions. And in assuring him, as sources have been feeding the media, that he would be rewarded with a berth in the Council of Ministers the BJP was able to turn his natural reticence into vocal enthusiasm for a BJP-PDP alliance.
So Baig when asked specifically about the BJP on the television channels was heard defending the party. To the point that when asked specifically about the conversions ;gar wapsi’ program of the BJP he said that this was not a major issue, that it was being done by organisations other than the BJP whose top leadership had distanced itself from this. He sounded easy and confident about a PDP-BJP alliance, and while all other leaders stayed away from the media his initial hours on television were sufficient to let observers and stake holders know which way the wind was blowing.
PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Mehbooba Mufti went indoors, but not before Baig had been admonished and asked to lower the tone until the party met and took a decision. He did not retract but lowered the tone, and is now dashing around as the intermediary between the the BJP and the PDP determined to make the alliance happen. He has a close collaborator, as reported by The Citizen initially, in RSS leader who is now with the BJP Ram Madhav who has been functioning as the ‘ice breaker’ between the BJP and Independent Kashmiri legislators and one man political parties in the Valley.
Baig is a Harvard Law School graduate. Significantly, he was the Advocate General to Governor Jagmohan, a controversial figure in the state as he is credited with having pushed and facilitated largescale migration of the Kashmiri pandits at the time. The National Conference has always blamed Baig and Mufti for exacerbating the problems of the state through their support to Jagmohan who was sent as Governor to Jammu and Kashmir by the VP Singh government in which Mufti was the Union Home Minister.
NC leader Farooq Abdullah has been pretty direct in saying, ““Today they shed crocodile tears about the same laws. Wasn’t it Mehbooba Mufti who pledged and swore that she would give up security if AFSPA wasn’t revoked? What happened to that melodrama? It is a fact that PDP never spoke about the revocation of AFSPA while in power. When asked today – they say that they mentioned it in phone conversations to Delhi. Do they think the people of Kashmir are such abject fools to believe their lies and drama?”
Abdullah has said repeatedly that “it was none other than Muzaffar Baig, who as Governor Jagmohan’s Advocate General suggested the abrogation of Article 370 and showed Jagmohan the legal ways and recourse to transfer Kashmiri prisoners outside the state in the scorching heat.”
Baig now has given himself the task of sealing the PDP alliance with BJP so that the two parties can form the government. He has been working out the modalities, with every comma and semi colon, with the BJP with both he and Ram Madhav working out the differences and ironing out the creases such as Article 370 and AFSPA. As The Citizen has reported the two political parties are on the threshold of an announcement, stayed only because of a hyper BJP in Jammu that is intent on feeding its own constituency with the promise of abrogating Article 370. Baig who has seen worse reportedly believes that this glitch would be sorted out sooner than later.