Emissary row: LJP leader admits to meeting Geelani, denies carrying message from BJP

Srinagar: Mystery still surrounds the claim by Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani that BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had sent two emissaries to him carrying a message, with a LJP leader whose named surfaced maintaining on Sunday he met him but not as an emissary.
Sanjay Saraf, who belongs to Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) that is part of the NDA, confirmed that he had met Geelani but dismissed reports that he had carried any message from Modi to Geelani.
LJP’s National Youth President Saraf said his relations with Geelani were “personal”.
“I have been meeting Geelani for the past so many years. I have not met him in the context that has been reported,” Saraf told PTI in Srinagar.
Saraf said he rushed to Srinagar from Bihar after he was named as one of the emissaries of Modi that Geelani claimed had called on him for opening a dialogue with the BJP leader.
“This is a completely baseless report. I have not met Geelani since he was taken to Delhi for treatment in early March this year,” he said.
Asked about media reports identifying him as one of the two emissaries, Saraf said he was exploring legal options against ‘The Hindu’ newspaper which carried the report for “spreading falsehood and dragging my name into something that I was never part of”.
Geelani on Friday claimed that Modi had sent two emissaries to him to create a “soft corner” for BJP by making a “commitment” to seek a solution to Kashmir issue.
Geelani has not named the emissaries so far. The meeting allegedly took place in Delhi on March 22. Geelani also claimed that the emissaries had called on other pro-freedom leaders who were now pinning hopes with the NDA coming to power for resolution of Kashmir issue.
Rubbishing Geelani’s claims, senior BJP leader Lalji Tandon said that Modi did not send any emissary to anyone, calling his remark as ‘unfortunate’. “Geelani comes across as if Geelani is wearing the Congress mask,” he said, adding “whenever the time comes, Modi and BJP will talk about the Kashmir issue.”
Congress leader Rashid Alvi said truth should come out.
LJP chief Paswan said Kashmir issue is a “serious” matter and it is discussed during meetings between leaders of BJP and his party with the separatists.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday questioned the secrecy behind the move and asked Geelani to identify the pointsmen to establish who was “lying”.
Geelani’s claims invited denials from the Jama’at-e-Islami and the Hurriyat Conference (M) with the latter accusing him of “deliberately making statements aimed at creating confusion among people.”
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the Hurriyat (M), urged Geelani to shun the “holier than thou” attitude as holding talks with stakeholders on the Kashmir issue did not tantamount to a sellout.—PTI