‘Told Home Minister will walk out of alliance for protecting Article 35-A’
• Jailing and killing people won’t solve Kashmir problem
• Told PM that BJP leaders were rallying in support of Kathua rape-murder accused
• NC compromised in alliance with Cong leading to Afzal Guru’s hanging
Former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti said her she was not surprised by the BJP’s decision to pull out as she already knew that her pro-Kashmir agenda was troubling BJP at the national level.
“BJP leaders had started saying that I am soft on terrorism and other issues,” she said in an interview to ETV Urdu.
The PDP leader said the party continued to be part of the alliance with the rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to get the State out of the morass it was caught in since 1990.
She said her father and PDP’s founder Mufti Muhammad Sayeed’s intention to align with BJP was pure.
“However, the decision did not go down well with the people as they had a lot of expectations from us,” Mehbooba said.
She said National Conference had also been with BJP but people did not disapprove that alliance like they did in their case because they expected more from them.
The PDP chief said PDP had always maintained that in Kashmir a battle of ideas is being fought in which “jailing and killing people” won’t solve the problem.
She said PDP wanted to take Kashmir back to the Vajpayee era where talks with Pakistan and separatists had started along with easing of routes connecting Kashmir to Central Asia.
“(Narendra) Modi went to Pakistan as per our Agenda of Alliance but then Pathankot attack happened,” Mehbooba said adding the process of reconciliation with Pakistan did not move forward post the attack.
She said PDP’s main agenda had been talks with stakeholders without which Kashmir issue could not be addressed.
“I told Modiji and Home Minister that Kashmir issue is not just about development,” the PDP leader said.
She said Vajpayee kept trying even after the attack on Parliament which, however, did not happen after the Pathankot attack in Modi’s tenure.
Mehbooba said on the protection of Article 35-A she told the Home Minister Rajnath Singh that she would walk out of the alliance if it was tempered with.
She said it was PDP’s agenda that led to Home Minister offering talks with stakeholder twice which was not the case when NC-Congress were in power.
“The separatists didn’t respond to interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma, one can’t force a horse to grow near the grass,” the PDP President said.
She said the differences between the PDP-BJP were on many fronts like in Kathua rape case where she even told the Prime Minister Modi that BJP leaders had been rallying in support of the accused.
“I got the case investigated by the Crime Branch of J&K Police,” Mehbooba said.
She said every legislator of PDP was with her and those complaining had not left PDP either.
“They swear by Mufti sahab and PDP’s main agenda. The day they speak against our agenda, I will throw them out,” she said adding that Mehbooba as an individual was nobody.
She said her brother Tassaduq was very well versed in his own field and had also contributed immensely in the government.
“The re-starting of silk factory at Solina is his achievement,” the PDP leader said.
On family rule allegations in the party, she said her uncle and party vice-president Sartaj Madni was forced by them to contest from areas where the situation in 2002 was very bad.
“They have worked very hard for building the party,” Mehbooba said.
She said even Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah had been ruling the State.
The PDP leader said back in the day, leaders like Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Abdullah had also witnessed uprisings in their party, which was normal.
She said NC compromised in alliance with the Congress, which led to the hanging of Afzal Guru because back then the Congress wanted to outsmart BJP in general elections.
Mehbooba said if she would have compromised then her alliance with BJP might have lasted for 12 years instead of just three.