Hardening her stance, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti made it clear that she will not form the government with BJP in Jammu and Kashmir if the Narendra Modi dispensation does not create a “conducive atmosphere” by committing confidence building measures (CBMs) for the state.
“There are problems within problems. To face these difficulties, we need to have support and to have that conducive atmosphere (for forming government). If we get that, it is fine but if that does not happen, we will continue to move as we are moving today,” Mehbooba told party leaders at a meeting here today.
Flanked by her brother Tassaduq Mufti and senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beigh, she indicated that she was not looking for any financial package but the CBMs sought by her should focus on political aspect of the problem.
“It is not the matter of money. How much money has come and how much we have spent? When and how it came? But the issue is how will we create a conducive atmosphere so that the new government gets a new path and fillip to go ahead and create a goodwill among the people,” she said.
Her remarks reflect hardening of stance over forming coalition government with BJP in the state which is under Governor’s Rule since January 8, a day after the demise of her father and the then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
PDP, with 27 MLAs in the 87-member Assembly and BJP with 25 legislators, ran a coalition government headed by Sayeed for 10 months before his death.
Contending that she was not “resorting to blackmail or bargaining (with Centre)”, the PDP chief said, “The decision of Mufti sahib is acceptable to us... Mufti sahib had taken this decision (of formation government with BJP) for the welfare of the people. His commitment is my commitment. But it is a tough trial for me in the wake of void created by his demise.”
Arguing that Jammu and Kashmir is not like any other state of the country, she said, “It is not Punjab, Rajasthan or Assam. We face a lot difficulties here. There are problems within problems. To face these difficulties, we need to have strength and to have that conducive atmosphere.” (
“We cannot form government in the air. The point is how to create a conducive atmosphere so that if a new government is formed, there is a way forward for creating goodwill among the people,” she said.
Asking PDP cadres to work to strengthen the party, she said, “whether the government is formed or not, we should not depend on that.”
Suggesting that she was willing to remain out of power, the PDP chief said her father and party patron “had done commendable job even while being out of the government as well.
“He remained out of the government for 40-50 years. He remained in the power for 10-12 years. Those who have remained in power for 20-30 years have not achieved that much as Mufti sahib have achieved.”
Asserting that there can’t be any compromise with the principles of her late father, Mehbooba said, “I will not allow harm to be done to his respect, hard-work and conviction, whatever may happen.”
Referring to the criticism faced by her father within the party, she said, “Some people were unhappy against the decision of Mufti sahib to have alliance with BJP. May be people will have complaints. But Mufti sahib had a goodwill and people would trust him.”
She said, “several people on the two sides in Kashmir and Jammu may have not liked BJP-PDP tie up but even after taken such a major decision, Mufti sahib went to downtown (old) area of Srinagar and was welcomed there. This was his goodwill.”
The old areas of Srinagar are considered to be pro-separatists.
Citing Mufti, Mehbooba said if peace is to be restored in Jammu and Kashmir, then India and Pakistan have to come together. “We need to work towards this,” she said.
Describing her father as her role model, Mehbooba said “We cannot think like Mufti sahib, but we are carrying forward the vision of Mufti sahib. We were promised in 1947 that it (J&K) will be a showcase window to the world... but unfortunately it has not happened.”
She said “The people of Jammu and Kashmir were caught in quagmire of uncertainty”, she said, adding “Despite his ailment, Mufti strongly worked at the grassroot level because he wanted to do something good for the people of this state.
He worked very hard for past ten months.”