SRINAGAR: Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti said on Saturday that the National Conference has conceded defeat by relocating Abdullahs from their family bastion, Ganderbal, and the upcoming Assembly election will therefore be “a straight fight” between the BJP and her party.
“Didn’t you see chief minister Omar Abdullah ran away from the contest? If they had worked during their tenure, the CM wouldn’t have to run away from a constituency that was their stronghold,” Mehbooba told a gathering of PDP workers at her official residence.
“His grandfather Sheikh Abdullah and father Farooq Abdullah won from Ganderbal. So what was the reason? Just imagine he has to contest from two constituencies but his party would do well neither in Ganderbal nor anywhere else,” Mehbooba said.
The NC has decided to field Omar from Beerwah and Sonwar constituencies, leaving Ganderbal for Sheikh Ashfaq Jabbar, son of former prominent party leader Sheikh Abdul Jabbar.
The NC and Congress, Mehbooba claimed, would win five or six seats in the polls.
“Our competition is with BJP. We have to make a new Kashmir because floods took away everything including business. To restore all, we have to get a mandate so that Mufti sahib would be able to work for us,” she said.
Criticizing the government for doing nothing to save Srinagar city from being drowned in the last month’s floods, Mehbooba questioned as to how the embankments got breached.
Omar-led coalition government had drawn flak for not breaching, as was the practice, some embankments in flood basins of the city, which led to the flooding of most parts of the capital. Without naming them, the chief minister had, however, told the media that a PDP legislator had not allowed flood officials to breach an embankment of the Jhelum.
“Srinagar is the heart of our business but they watched with folded hands when the flood drowned it,” Mehbooba said, while claiming her party will form the next government on its own.
She said that the Prime Minister of India’s announcement that relief funds will be transferred directly into the accounts of the affected people indicates that the government of India does not trust the state government.
“If they (state government) were worried about people they wouldn’t have brought us to this devastating state,” she said.
In his address, PDP patron and chief ministerial candidate Mufti Mohammad Sayeed drew parallels between Modi’s promised good governance in Gujarat and his party’s own record of “good governance”.
While stating that he did not know “whether they (BJP) mean what they say”, possibly referring to the saffron party’s hardening stance on Kashmir, Mufti said that Modi’s target should be winning the hearts and minds of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.