After two-month suspense, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti on Friday dropped hints of going ahead with BJP in government formation, saying she was “not afraid” of criticism over it but wanted the Centre to send out a “signal” that it will do “everything” for the welfare of people of Jammu and Kashmir.
She invoked her late father Mufti Sayeed, saying he had “not joined hands with BJP as a party but it was a coalition between the Central government and the people of Jammu and
Kashmir” with an aim of benefitting the people of the state.
“For us, the decision taken by my father.., if that aim and that aspiration is fulfilled then I am not afraid if people blame me for going with BJP whether they feel good or bad. If people are benefitted then there is no issue,” Mehbooba said while launching party’s membership drive here.
“When it came to the benefit of people, my father did not care about the party. He rose above everything and joined hands with BJP for the welfare of the people”, she said.
Insisting that she was not an “adamant” lady, she said her party leaders want the formation of the government but she will do that when she feels that the bigger aim was fulfilled.
And if the aim of forgoing an alliance with BJP is fulfilled, then she has no objection in forming the government, she said.
“If I feel that the aim is fulfilled, which is the need of the hour, situation is not normal in Jammu and Kashmir after Mufti’s death. My father did not join hands with BJP as a party. The coalition was between the Central government and the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“If they send such a signal that for the people of Jammu and Kashmir for their welfare they will do everything. It is such a huge country, its treasures would not run empty,” Mehbooba said.
She went on to add, “If at any time I feel that they (Centre) have space in their hearts for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and a framework which we have made and they are ready to put colours in that framework, then I do not have any hesitation in becoming Chief Minister of this state would be a matter of honour.”
Mehbooba, whose party has 27 MLAs in the 87-member Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, said “if the promises are not fulfilled and the formation of the government means to keep away from the elections for five years, then she was not ready (to become the Chief Minister).
“If I feel that these are only hollow promises and nothing will come out of it and that our MLAs would become ministers and we would not have to face elections for 4-5 years, then I
am not ready (to form the government),” the PDP chief said.
PDP, along with 25-member BJP, ran a coalition government headed by Mufti Sayeed for 10 months before the sudden demise of the then Chief Minister on January 7.
The state is currently under Governor’s Rule since January 8 as Mehbooba, seen as successor to her father, did not stake claim for government formation.
“You all are important for me. That is why, instead of taking oath, I have come to meet you,” she told her party workers.
She said she was not an adamant lady but wants peace in Jammu and Kashmir.
“You saw how two young officers lost their lives,” she said apparently referring to the Pampore encounter last month in which two Army Captains were killed while flushing out
three terrorists holded up in a government building.
“Yesterday an encounter took place and a child who died in it had scored 98 per cent marks. Why did he pick up weapons if he was good in studies? We have to work to make such an environment where these kids don’t take to the gun but work to strengthen this country,” she said.
She said her father had a dream of bringing about peace in Jammu and Kashmir to bring an end to the bloodshed.
“People are being killed in fake encounters like that of Machil. Hindu, Muslims are being killed. India and Pakistan, the bloodshed which has going on, has to stop. If Wagah border
can become a symbol of peace then why not our borders (in J&K)? Why do they remember nationalism when it comes to making borders friendly with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir” she said.
She said the aim of her party was to motivate any government in Centre to help set up peace in the state.
“Mufti sahib had this confidence that he can change the flow and can open Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route. He had this hope that he can make Vajpayee hold talks with Hurriyat.
He always used to think about the people of J&K, welfare of India and the betterment of India and Pakistan”, Mehbooba said.
She referred to the arrests made by Pakistan in connection with the Pathankot terror attack and said it was a “major achievement” of the Modi government.