JEHANGIR ALI | 3 FEBRUARY, 2016
Needed, CBM's For Government: Mehbooba Mufti
SRINAGAR: The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti, Tuesday refused to form the government with the BJP unless the Government of India announces "concrete confidence building measures" for Jammu and Kashmir.
“We want a government that will actively address the political and economic problems confronting Jammu and Kashmir. For this, the Centre has to take concrete confidence building measures," Mehbooba said in her first press interaction after the death of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
It was a day of hectic political activity in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday with Governor NN Vohra meeting the PDP chief, who was accompanied by senior PDP leader and Lok Sabha MP, Muzaffar Hussain Baig, followed by another meeting with the BJP's state president, Sat Paul Sharma, MP Jugal Kishore and former deputy chief minister, Dr Nirmal Singh.
The twin meetings, however, failed to end the political deadlock in the state which slipped under Governor's rule on January 8 following the death of the Chief Minister Sayeed at AIIMS. The BJP leaders have reportedly told Vohra that they need eight to ten days to take a call on government formation.
Speaking to reporters after meeting Vohra at Raj Bhavan in Jammu, Mehbooba said her party wants a government to inspire confidence among the people about its ability to solve the multiple problems faced by the state on political, economic, administrative and financial fronts.
Hinting at continuing the alliance with the BJP, Mehbooba said the political, economic and administrative issues ailing J&K, which need immediate attention of the state and the Centre, have already been emphasised in the ‘Agenda of Alliance’.
"If implemented with sincerity of purpose, these could to a large extent respond to the complex problems of J&K, faced as it is with decades long political uncertainty, economic disempowerment, development deficit, unfulfilled aspirations and mounting unemployment," she said.
Among other political and developmental components, the alliance agenda, worked out between the two parties after over two months of hectic negotiations in March last year, talks about wresting back the control of two key power projects from NHPC, protecting the special status of the state as well as liberal funding to address the developmental deficit in the state.
"Despite having taken a huge political risk of going against the public sentiment in Kashmir by aligning with BJP, Mufti saheb was virtually made to run from the pillar to post by New Delhi to get even the constitutionally guaranteed funds for the development of the state," Mehbooba said.
Before their meeting with the Governor, Dr Nirmal Singh also drove to the State Guest House in Jammu to meet the PDP chief, terming the meeting as a "courtesy call". "Everything is alright. We are hopeful about carrying forward the vision of Modiji and Mufti saheb for Jammu and Kashmir," Singh said. Asked about the government formation, Singh replied: "I can't give a definite timeframe one the issue."
In a statement issued in the evening, Mehbooba said her father had entered into the alliance with Modi to end the political and economic problems of the state but his "resolute decision" to ally with the BJP was not reciprocated by the Centre the way he had expected.
“It was the credibility and stature of Mufti saheb that despite facing enormous resource constraints and frequent unsettling issues during the past ten months, he kept things moving on the governance and development fronts and even ventured out into the areas in Kashmir, especially in Srinagar, where no mainstream politician would dare to go,” she said.
"Mufti saheb entered into an alliance with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the hope that given the decisive mandate enjoyed by his party, the Government of India would take effective and realistic steps to address the political, economic and administrative challenges confronting J&K to ensure lasting peace and stability in the State.
“Mufti Sahab’s vision was not only to bring the people of various regions closer to each other, but to bridge the trust deficit between J&K and the rest of the country and he expected adequate support from the Government of India in this enterprise of hope,” she said
"Unfortunately, instead of addressing the real challenges confronting J&K, Mufti saheb’s government was kept busy in sorting-out various contentious issues repeatedly being raised by certain quarters in and outside the state," Mehbooba said.
The PDP chief said the new J&K government will have to take "tangible measures" to address the causes of alienation, trust and development deficit in Jammu and Kashmir and find a long-lasting solution to the problem plaguing the state for six decades.
“Today, it is not about the BJP and PDP. It is about what we tell the people about fulfilling Mufti Saheb’s vision. We need tangible confidence building measures to be taken by the Centre to give the new government in J&K a fillip. The Centre needs to create an environment to infuse confidence and unless that happens, we cannot move forward,” she said.