Mehbooba Mufti Is Not Afraid Of Criticism For Allying With BJP

05/03/2016 8:02 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah, right, gestures to the media after a meeting with Kashmir’s regional Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti, left in blue, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015. The BJP and the PDP Tuesday finalized an agreement to form a coalition government in Kashmir, the first time the Hindu nationalist party will share a leadership position in the predominantly Muslim region. (AP Photo / Manish Swarup)

JAMMU -- After suspense of two months, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti yesterday hinted at going ahead with forming government with BJP, 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 the state.

Hours later, she met Governor N N Vohra for an hour and discussed "political issues" and "various challenges" faced by the state which is under Governor's Rule since 8 January.

Before meeting Vohra, 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.

"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 forging (rpt) 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, it would be a matter of honour."

Mehbooba, whose party has 27 MLAs in the 87-member 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.

At the same time, she showered praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his peace overtures to Pakistan, including his visit to Lahore.

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 7 January.

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Mufti Mohammad Sayeed (1936-2016)

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