Admits her ‘party leaders’ want the formation of the government, but she will do that when she feels the ‘bigger aim’ is fulfilled; says BJP should stop stay away from communal politics
Jammu: People’s Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti again hinted on Friday that it will form a coalition government with BJP in J&K if New Delhi will send a signal that it will work for welfare of the state, but also warned that it may not do so if the saffron party continues playing ‘communal politics’ in India.
“If the Central government for a moment leaves the politics of what is happening in UP or Bihar and thinks what is good for the state it can again become an abode of peace. Unless (this happens), things will not work (out) in this manner,” she told a party function ahead of a crucial PDP legislature party meeting on Monday
“I am waiting for a concrete and credible message from New Delhi. Let them say that the agenda of alliance which was mutually agreed upon would be fulfilled in letter and spirit and the government would come up immediately after that,” Mehbooba said.
“I am not adamant. If I feel that the Centre is working in the interest and welfare of the state I will have no objection in forming the government. I will be the happiest person if I will be made the Chief Minister but if I feel BJP has nothing other than the hollow promises I will never form a government. Chair does not entice me. I am not going to take it purely for power,” said she added.
Mehbooba said the new government will not be a government between PDP and state BJP but between the PDP and the BJP-led NDA government.
“We want that our financial demands for the state are accepted. Their treasuries would not get empty if our demands are accepted,” she added.
The PDP chief said the criticism her party has received over aligning with the BJP will not deter her from going with BJP if the people’s aspirations are fulfilled.
“For us, the decision taken by my father.., if that aim and that aspiration is fulfilled then I am not afraid if people blame me for going with BJP whether they feel good or bad. If people are benefitted then there is no issue,” Mehbooba said while launching party’s membership drive here.
“If the promises are not fulfilled and the formation of the government means to keep away from the elections for five years, then she was not ready (to become the Chief Minister).
“If I feel that these are only hollow promises and nothing will come out of it and that our MLAs would become ministers and we would not have to face elections for 4-5 years, then I am not ready (to form the government),” the PDP chief said.
PDP, along with 25-member BJP, ran a coalition government headed by Mufti Sayeed for 10 months before the sudden demise of the then Chief Minister on January 7.
The state is currently under Governor’s Rule since January 8 as Mehbooba, seen as successor to her father, did not stake claim for government formation.
“You all are important for me. That is why, instead of taking oath, I have come to meet you,” she told her party workers.
She said she was not an adamant lady but wants peace in Jammu and Kashmir.
“You saw how two young officers lost their lives,” she said apparently referring to the Pampore encounter last month in which two army Captains were killed in a gunfight with three militants holed up in a government building.
“Yesterday an encounter took place and a child who died in it had scored 98 per cent marks. Why did he pick up weapons if he was good in studies? We have to work to make such an environment where these kids don’t take to the gun but work to strengthen this country,” she said.
She said her father had a dream of bringing about peace in Jammu and Kashmir to bring an end to the bloodshed.
“People are being killed in fake encounters like that of Machil. Hindu, Muslims are being killed. India and Pakistan, the bloodshed which has going on, has to stop. If Wagah border can become a symbol of peace then why not our borders (in J&K)? Why do they remember nationalism when it comes to making borders friendly with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir” she said.
She said the aim of her party was to motivate any government in Centre to help set up peace in the state.
“Mufti sahib had this confidence that he can change the flow and can open Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route. He had this hope that he can make Vajpayee hold talks with Hurriyat. He always used to think about the people of J&K, welfare of India and the betterment of India and Pakistan,” Mehbooba said.
She referred to the arrests made by Pakistan in connection with the Pathankot terror attack and said it was a “major achievement” of the Modi government.
“When Mufti joined hands with BJP, his aim was to bring peace between Kashmir and Jammu regions. He used to say that people of Jammu have their own aspirations and that is why they voted for BJP,” the PDP chief said.
She said Mufti had joined “a party (BJP) which got such a huge mandate” with the hope that all the works which were left incomplete would be completed, the healing touch policy which PDP started would move ahead, peace would be restored in the state, the state would develop and “the treasury of the country will flow into the state”.
Mehbooba said she does not want to be a big leader but her aim was to take forward the aspirations of her father who wanted to showcase Jammu and Kashmir to the whole world as an example of a single Muslim-majority state of India living at peace with the rest of the country.
She said that Mufti Sayeed used to tell Prime Minister Narendra Modi that there is no alternative to peace with Pakistan and “we felt very good” when he went to Lahore to meet Nawaz Sharif.
“Manmohan Singh, I know him personally is a very good and honest man and he too wanted to visit Pakistan but he could not as he did not have the massive mandate which Modi enjoys,” said Mehbooba, whose party earlier had an alliance with Congress.
Referring to questions raised by some sections over the “benefits” of Modi’s visit, Mehbooba said, “I must say that today now Pakistan has arrested all the accused who were involved in Pathankot attack. Did it happen earlier?”
Noting that Pakistan has said people involved in such attacks were non-state actors, she said, “May be it is right. If they had control on them, then thousands of their own men would not have been killed daily. But yes as you sow so shall you reap.” She said that “today one of the biggest achievement of Modi is that because of his Pakistan visit the borders are peaceful.”
“We see animosity every day but the need is to see friendship,” the PDP chief said about Indo-Pak ties.
Contending that borders need to have schools and hospitals, she said, “but we are making bunkers. But why do we need them (bunkers) in Jammu and Kashmir and not in other places? If peace can be maintained in other parts of the country why not in Jammu and Kashmir?”
—With inputs from PTI