Chadoora (Budgam): Former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday regretted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not follow in the footsteps of Atal Behari Vajpayee in taking political initiatives on Kashmir, while urging people not to boycott the Lok Sabha election.
She reasoned that casting a vote in this Lok Sabha election was vital for safeguarding the state’s special identity, which the BJP was threatening to do away with. A bunch of petitions challenging Articles 370 and 35A, which guarantee this special identity, are awaiting hearing in the Supreme Court.
Mehbooba said that her father, the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, had ensured dialogue between New Delhi, Hurriyat and Pakistan, and opening of road links with Pakistan-administered Kashmir, during the maiden government of PDP in alliance with the Congress.
She said her father had tied up with the BJP to form a government for the second time in the hope that Narendra Modi would follow the agenda of Vajpayee. “But sadly, he didn’t,” Mehbooba said while addressing an election rally at Chadoora in Budgam district. “Mufti sahib never lied. Our agenda is clear. We tied up with BJP for the sake of our people,” she said.
Amid rains, hundreds of people arrived to hear the PDP chief. She was given a rousing reception at the venue by the PDP’s supporters, young and old, men and women, and even children.
Chanting “Jeet Humari Insha Allah”, the gathering saw a band of singers perform and the traditional Band Pather while women danced.
Defending her father’s decision of forming an unpopular alliance with BJP, Mehbooba pointed to Pakistan premier Imran Khan’s recent statement that he had more hopes of dialogue with India if Modi returns to power.
“Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had the same idea,” she said.
According to her, Modi could not resolve the Kashmir issue even when he had an absolute majority, so it would be quite unwise to think that he would pursue reconciliation with Pakistan.
She appealed to people to vote and not heed calls for boycott as Articles 370 and 35A were under threat.
“The situation is quite difficult and those conditions on which J&K acceded with India are under threat. Your vote is important,” she said to people.
She warned that thousands of outsiders were planning to come to Kashmir to purchase land, after Constitutional provisions protecting the state’s special identity are abrogated.
“We don’t resort to doublespeak. Vote for PDP candidate Agha Mohsin,” Mehbooba urged the people.