Opposition NC president Farooq Abdullah Saturday criticised Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s pitch for GST exemption to Jammu and Kashmir’s handicraft, dry fruits, and tourism industries. Abdullah said Mehbooba’s meeting with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was an attempt to hoodwink the Kashmiri people.
“Either Mehbooba Mufti had not even bothered to look at GST Bill before giving it a go-ahead in the state Cabinet or she is clearly trying to befool Kashmiris. Asking for GST exemption now after passing the bill is mere drama,” Abdullah, Lok Sabha member from Srinagar constituency, said at a workers’ meeting at Ganderbal.
The former chief minister said it was beyond comprehension that a bill just passed by her government needs her to engage in parleys now.
When the whole state particularly the trading fraternity was worried that GST would not augur well with small and medium scale industries in the state, Mufti was the biggest proponent of the law, Abdullah said.
He expressed dismay over what he called a “deaf and blind government” ignorant to the needs and aspirations of the trader community in particular and people in general. “Which chief minister will bat for GST one day and the next day come out and say ‘We are at loss because of GST?'” he asked.
He said the conduct of the PDP-BJP alliance has always been incoherent and confusing. “They run around like headless chickens and the state is suffering because of Mehbooba Mufti’s inept handling of the CM’s office and her Cabinet,” he said.
Reiterating his stance on resumption of the dialogue process between India and Pakistan, Abdullah said, until and unless Kashmir issue is resolved, there would be no peace in the state.
“I appeal to both the countries to understand the gravity of the situation and initiate dialogue process immediately. And in that process all the stakeholders in the state must be taken on board,” he said.
He said the central government must follow the policies of ex-PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee who was a strong votary of dialogue. “It was he who said that friends can be changed but not your neighbors, in direct reference to Pakistan,” Abdullah said.