By A Aalim Ahmad
Srinagar: A battery of opposition legislators on Thursday used the state assembly’s obituary reference to former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed to criticise the last event of his political life: alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Senior National Conference leader Mohammad Shafi Uri described the PDP-BJP alliance as a “big challenge” and advised the People’s Democratic Party to “safeguard the unity and special status of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Mufti Sahab was a sagacious politician and a visionary leader who throughout his political career strived hard for nourishment of secular and democratic values.
Kavinder Gupta, Speaker LA
Congress leader Gulam Mohammad Saroori went so far as to say that Mufti Sayeed’s death was caused by the guilt of this “unjustifiable alliance”.
These comments came when both houses of the legislature were paying tributes to six pro-India leaders from J&K who passed away since the last assembly session began in September 2015. Among them was former J&K governor KV Krishna Rao. Interestingly, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and opposition leader Omar Abdullah skipped the obituary session.
The capabilities of Mufti sahib were recognized at national level also due to which he rose to key positions during his political career. His integrity, uprightness and political understanding made him a great visionary leader. Mufti sahib will be remembered for making us understand the role of opposition in democracy. He would say Opposition’s role is to oppose, expose and depose and that should be respected by the parties in power.
Nirmal Singh, deputy CM
NC leader Mohd Shafi Uri praised Mufti’s “contribution” to J&K politics. He said that Mufti sustained the Congress in Jammu and Kashmir in a tough situation and had the guts to pit himself against political stalwart Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.
He described the creation of PDP as the realization of Mufti that any politics remote-controlled by New Delhi could not remain relevant in Jammu and Kashmir, especially in the Valley.
“This (creation of PDP) was a message to the Delhi establishment that Kashmir had a unique character, culture and identity, which could not be tempered with,” Uri said.
He was an entire school of politics in itself and anybody who entered the school left as a knowledgeable person. I was particularly inspired by his personal integrity. He never compromised on his principles. He always told me that if I don’t have personal conviction then it is better I leave him alone. He never talked ill of others and even in their absence he would highlight the best qualities of his political opponents. Ever since he started his political journey he went through various ups and downs and took number of decisions that looked wrong but ultimately they passed the test of time. He made the democracy competitive in the state. Earlier we had no options but after Mufti Sayeed came to the scene, he presented before the people another option to express their faith with.
Naeem Akhtar, edu minister
The NC leader “wondered” how the North Pole-South Pole alliance of the PDP with the BJP would bring peace to Jammu and Kashmir. “Until Kashmir remains unresolved as an issue between India and Pakistan, there cannot be permanent peace in the region,” he said.
Recalling a resolution passed in Sopore in 1963 at the annual conference of the Plebiscite Front, Uri said that peace and Indo-Pak friendship had always been the main political plank in Kashmir. He questioned the PDP leadership’s ability to accommodate the democratic aspirations of people and to safeguard the unique identity of the state. “This is a big challenge,” he said.
‘Mufti wanted to write his autobiography’
Education minister Naeem Akhtar said that his political mentor and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed wanted to pen down his autobiography.
“Despite offering myself for the job, the busy schedule of Mufti sahib didn’t allow him to fulfill it. I am deeply saddened that one of Kashmir’s sterling and exciting stories has remained untold,” he said.
Congress leader GM Saroori lamented Mufti’s decision to align with the BJP and described this as the cause for his death. “He forged the alliance in utter desperation. He died while trying to trace out the file for the rehabilitation of flood-affected people,” he said.
Saroori said that the PDP leadership must be regretting the decision.
“Your alliance is atypical. This can’t be strong. It has taken one sacrifice (of Mufti). We don’t know how many more it will take,” he said.
CPI (M) leader MY Tarigami said at the obituary session, “It is not necessary to shower praises on a leader while paying tributes. It is equally necessary to discuss the political fallout of decisions taken by him.”