I cautioned Modi to break Alliance if BJP tried to fiddle with Art 35-A: Mehbooba

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti addressing workers' rally at Rajouri on Tuesday.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti addressing workers' rally at Rajouri on Tuesday.

‘PM should follow Vajpayee in resolving K-issue’

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, Sept 4: Describing the Article 35-A of the Constitution as a bridge between the J&K State and the Union of India, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president and former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today said that she had warned the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pull out of the Government if the BJP tried to fiddle with Art 35-A.
While talking to media-persons on the side lines of workers’ rally at Rajouri today, the PDP president said, ” As I had already revealed we had conflict with BJP on two-three issues and Article 35-A was one of them. I had told Modi Ji, if the BJP will fiddle with the Art 35-A, we will break the alliance and come out of the Government.”
She claimed that the Article 35-A serves as bridge between J&K and the Union of India. ” This is very serious issue. If you will try to break the bridge, it means you are separating yourself from the State and are willing to break the relations with its people,” Mehbooba maintained.
Replying to another question, Mehbooba said, ” Our priority should be to improve the relations with Pakistan and initiate dialogue process with our neighbor and separatists, following the policy of former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee. We should adopt human approach in solving Kashmir as the people there are facing pellet guns and bullets.”
Responding to a question on response of Jammu people with regard to Art 35-A, Mehbooba said BJP MLA Dr Gagan Bhagat and many other people in Jammu have started supporting and thinking on the merits and de-merits of this Article. “The civil society in Jammu has also come forward with its mind.”
When asked for her comments about the Local Bodies and Panchayat elections, the former Chief Minister said, ” You see what happens.”
She said like her farther late Mufti Sahib, Rajouri-Poonch was very dear to her. She had started her campaign from this region after she came out of the power last time.
Earlier, addressing workers’ meeting at Dak Bungalow, Rajouri, Mehbooba termed the dialogue and reconciliation between India and Pakistan inevitable for the resolution of Kashmir issue and making peace and tranquility in inseparable features of the violence infested State.
Appealing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend hand of friendship to Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan, Mehbooba said that peace in South Asia will only be possible if peace is established in the State. “Opening of the new roads between the divided parts of the State and strengthening of people to people contact will lead to success. Prime Minister Modi has to pick up wherefrom late Vajpayee has left the peace process and doing so will usher a new era of development and tranquility in the two countries and people living amid constant fear can heave a sigh of relief from constant confrontations,” the PDP president said.
She urged the two countries to rise above the “ego clash” and exhibit the political astuteness so that the dream of a peaceful Jammu and Kashmir is realised. She further asserted that the embargo in the State wouldn’t in any way be resolved through the announcement of the economic packages but by consistent and earnest efforts aimed to get the State out of the squalid conditions and taking youth into confidence.

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“Economic packages aren’t going to resolve the issues in any way. Though the roads, bridges and electricity are vital needs of the people but until and unless there is dialogue aimed at the resolution of the conflict, no sigh of relief could be provided to the already perturbed masses,” she said.
The PDP president remarked that after the 2014 polls accorded fragmented mandate to State’s political landscape, PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed decided to stitch the common ground with BJP with the sole motive to reincarnate the Vajpayee era in the State and to stop the vicious cycle of unabated killings and violence with an impeccable will and determination.
“Even when I told my father that the decision to join hands with the BJP has more risks than rewards and would decline party’s popularity in the state, he said he was ready to sacrifice everything including his own self if that resolves the decades old conflict,” Mehbooba said, adding that her father was confident that dialogue and reconciliation would be initiated and same measures taken during Vajpayee’s time will be witnessed once again.
“However, when on November 7, 2015, Prime Minister Modi addressed a rally in Srinagar, he announced Rs 80,000 crore package but exhibited reluctance in pitching for a thaw between India and Pakistan for peace in the State. This disheartened everyone including the people who had come from far flung areas to listen to the Prime Minister,” Mehbooba said.
The PDP chief remarked further that even after witnessing hurdles in his way, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed remained adamant to get the two countries closer and always pitched for dialogue and measures desperately needed for peace in the State.
“When I took over as the Chief Minister and headed the State for two years and two months, it is a fact known to all that I didn’t compromise on my stand and stood like a rock before the Central Government for protection of State’s special interests. If I would have shown mere laxity in my approach, BJP wouldn’t have been compelled to topple the Government. They didn’t succeeded in any way to make me barter the interests of the State for petty power and I can tell you with all certainty that I kept the honour and dignity of my people intact and alive,” Mehbooba said.
Recalling her struggle to give justice to the victims of Rasana case, Mehbooba stated that she went to New Delhi and made it ample clear before the helmsmen that the PDP cannot remain the part of Government until the two ministers who have openly supported the rapists aren’t sacked and until the investigation isn’t allowed to take place in a transparent manner.
“I remained in the forefront as the Chief Minister to thwart any attempts aimed at the intimidation of Gujjars and Bakerwals in the State and took every measure to ensure these communities that no one is going to do any harm to them,” she said.
After rally, Mehbooba Mufti proceeded to Shahdara Sharief shrine near Thannamandi.