Srinagar: After meeting Governor NN Vohra in Srinagar, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti flew to New Delhi on Thursday to meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh, to apprise him of the concerns of opposition parties and of her own party on the status of Article 35A of India’s Constitution.
“She (Mehbooba) is in Delhi,” Information Minister Zulfiqar Chowdhry confirmed to Kashmir Reader. “But I have no idea of the purpose of her visit to Delhi,” he added.
Sources in the government said that Mehbooba’s visit to Delhi was prompted by recent legal and political moves to abrogate Article 35A.
“She met Rajnath Singh in Delhi. She apprised him of the concerns raised by people, the PDP, and the opposition parties regarding the feared repeal of Article 35A,” the government sources said.
“The chief minister has a firm belief that if 35A is touched, the situation will go out of hand in Kashmir. She told Rajnath it is better to not touch sensitive issues that could have dangerous repercussions,” the sources said, adding, “This issue has the potential to depose her government in the state.”
The sources said that the chief minister was still camping in Delhi as she wanted to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“During her meetings with opposition parties, both the PDP’s legislators and the opposition’s expressed the view that repeal of Article 35A will end their political power. So it is a fight for survival as well,” the sources added.
On Tuesday, Mehbooba had called on National Conference President Farooq Abdullah at his Gupkar residence to discuss ways to protect Article 35A.
“Abdullah told the chief minister that everybody will suffer if the Article is repealed,” the sources said. “He said she had full support of the opposition on the issue of protecting 35A.”
The sources said that Abdullah told the chief minister to start an awareness campaign about the Article in Jammu as well.
“She did not meet the local BJP leadership as they have no power to stop the repeated assaults on the special status of Jammu and Kashmir,” the sources said.
The opposition parties led by Abdullah have already formed a ‘United Front’ for the defence of Article 35A.
Meanwhile, a press release stated that Mehbooba met Governor Vohra at the Raj Bhavan on Thursday and briefed him about her party’s views and the discussions she has had with leaders of various political parties regarding the threat to Article 35A.
The press statement said that the Governor had extensive discussions with her on several other important issues, including the ongoing anti-terrorist operations, maintenance of law and order, establishing capacity and outreach for effective implementation of GST, the current pace of tourist arrivals, implementation of important development schemes and projects, and functioning of universities.
“He further discussed with Ms Mufti his deep concern about the rapidly declining visual aspect of the Dal Lake and the schedule of timely elections to Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies,” the handout said.