PDP legislators asked to lie low

By A. Aalim Ahmad

Srinagar: Legislators of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have been asked by the high command to avoid asking ‘controversial’ questions or raising ‘contentious issues’ during the ongoing budget session of the legislature.
They have particularly been asked to be ‘cautious’ about highlighting the human rights issues, apparently to keep the coalition partner, the BJP, in good humour.
A PDP legislator in the lower house elected from a south Kashmir constituency told Kashmir Reader that ever since the party forged the alliance with the BJP, they have been directed to be cautious in speeches and overtures.
“We have been asked to avoid anything that that gives handle to the media or the coalition partner BJP to trigger a campaign against us,” the assembly member said.
He said the PDP legislators have not even listed questions on human rights or if there are some, they have been toned down.
Sources said that ever since Mehbooba renewed alliance with the BJP to begin the second innings of the coalition government, she has chosen to avoid the media lest she utters some controversial remarks. Most of her speeches are appreciative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP and even RSS on occasions.
“The situation is completely opposite to our previous functioning as legislators when we were given free hand to raise issues of public importance, especially on the human rights front,” the legislator said.
Sources said that Mehbooba Mufti is afraid of meeting her late father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s fate who was virtually hauled over coals for his remark on his maiden day in office as chief minister on March 1, 2015, when he thanked Pakistan and pro-freedom groups for “smooth conduct of assembly elections in the state”.
The controversy that erupted after the statement never ended till his death on January 7, 2016.
Mehbooba has so far escaped controversies, primarily due to her fewer interfaces with media and her ‘measured’ speeches in public. Her longest 80-minutes speech in the assembly while winding up discussion on motion of thanks on Governor’s speech was also completely in tune with the party’s newest policy on the issues confronting Kashmir.