Demands 44 seats for resolving Kashmir issue
• We created 20,000 chowkidar vacancies for PDP workers before Govt’s fall
• Allying with BJP was like washing hands with ‘sulphuric acid’
• Hurriyat didn’t respond to interlocutor, Home Minister talks
• Joined hands with BJP to stop my rebel leaders from selling Kashmir’s interests
• Don’t have a case filed in CBI like a certain leader
• Spent all my bank balance on last election
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti Sunday accused former chief minister and National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah of bringing NIA to Jammu Kashmir, which now was “raiding homes of Kashmiris”.
Addressing PDP youth wing workers at her Fairview residence at Gupkar, Mehbooba said Omar as the Minister of State in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had gifted seven power projects to Government of India (GoI) which her government strived to get back.
“We had five members in the parliament but we didn’t join Government of India even after BJP offered us a ministerial berth. But Omar was a minister in the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government which brought POTA,” the PDP President said.
She said her party forced the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to withdraw support from her government because they (BJP) realized that their agenda could not be implemented under her.
“After Mufti (Sayeed) Sahab’s death, I didn’t want to form the government but some of my own party members approached the BJP to form a government without me,” Mehbooba said. “I was forced to form the government because I couldn’t let those people run a government in Kashmir.”
She said: “I thought if these people, who approached BJP for power, are allowed to run a government here, they could sell Kashmir’s interests for more power. We gave these people (deserters) everything, accorded them respect yet they ditched and left us.”
Terming PDP’s decision to ally with BJP as washing hands with “sulphuric acid”, Mehbooba said Mufti Sayeed took the decision for the welfare of the Kashmiri youth who had been bearing all the pain emanating due to the unresolved Kashmir issue.
“I stayed with BJP so that PDP workers could be adjusted in government jobs. Just before the fall of my government, we had created 20,000 Chowkidar vacancies in the Education department for our workers,” she said.
The PDP chief said PDP was the only party which protested and stopped GoI from sealing schools and orphanages run by Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI).
“They had decided to ban everything run by Jamaat but our protest stopped them,” she said. “I am not afraid of the CBI (Central Investigating Agency) like a leader of a party who worries about a case filed against him. I won’t name him here but then that leader is forced to chant certain slogans.”
Mehbooba said a vicious atmosphere was created post 2016 Kashmir uprising which ultimately hampered her government from doing public-friendly work.
“Don’t gunfights beak out now? Aren’t they frequently happening now? What did I do then?” she said. “Did any fake encounter like the Pathribal or Machil happen during my government?”
The PDP President said kids were deliberately pushed to the forefront of processions and attacks on Army camps in 2016.
“I know what was done then. Many were killed and several injured. They were the same kids who used to be in my rallies with their mothers,” she said.
Mehbooba said in power she was fighting on two fronts - for the protection of Article 35-A and for Kashmiri youth.
She said she forced BJP to relinquish FIRs against 12,000 youth along with forcing them to file FIRs against the Army and CRPF.
“On Rassana case I made sure that the investigation is done in a proper manner,” the former chief minister said.
She said she got interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma appointed along with coercing the Home Minister Rajnath Singh to call for talks.
“How is it my fault if the Hurriyat didn’t respond,” Mehbooba said.
She said after the 2016 uprising, PDP managed to send a team of Parliament Members to the houses of Hurriyat leaders, who did not open their gates.
“What else could I have done,” the PDP chief said.
Mehbooba said she even coerced GoI to announce the unilateral Ramdhan ceasefire which “unfortunately wasn’t extended”.
She said PDP had always maintained that Hurriyat would only talk when India talks to Pakistan.
“Even Vajpayee Ji talked to Pakistan which paved way for talks with the Hurriyat,” the PDP President said.
She said PDP wants Kashmir valley to become the gateway to Central Asia where from a Kashmiri could go to Hajj via Iran in a couple of days.
“We want a delegation of the other part of Kashmir and J&K to jointly have meetings to carry forward trade and tourism,” Mehbooba said. “This way the borders will continue to exist but will become irrelevant. Isn’t that Azadi (freedom)?”
She said her father as the CM in 2002 had approached Mukesh Ambani for investing in Kashmir so that youth could get jobs.
“Ambani agreed to open a call centre in Nowgam. He even came to identify the land for the project but after Mufti Sahab’s term ended, the next CM (Ghulam Nabi Azad) asked Ambani to give him his cut,” Mehbooba alleged. “That call centre would have fetched Kashmiri youth thousands of jobs.”
She said Mufti had asked for 40 seats in the last election so that he could pave way for resolving Kashmir but this time around she wants 44 seats from the people.
“I have no money left in my bank accounts after the last elections and I thought of ask you to lend me money but seeing your desolate faces, I can’t even do that,” she said.