Showering praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, “I have worked with former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, but Narendra Modi has been focused. His watchwords of transparency, development and good governance will make India an emerging power. But of late, the development activities have taken a backseat and loose cannons are spreading hatred and insecurity. Every party has such elements… must take stock of the situation.”
Revealing that the fragmented mandate of the 2014 J&K assembly polls (PDP won 28 seats and BJP won 25) confronted him with an unfamiliar dilemma, Mufti said it brought out an unprecedented alliance. “Being a viable ruling combination bore a daunting task with no comparable precedence of two… opposing ideological entities forging into one. My own party people were not convinced. Even Congress leader Sonia Gandhi’s messenger came… But here we found the other side (BJP) was equally honest for the larger good…” Mufti said.
Terming the PDP-BJP “a historic alliance”, Mufti compared it with the ‘Kashmir Accord’ signed by former prime minister Indira Gandhi and Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdullah in 1975.
The J&K CM dismissed radicalism among Kashmiri youth, as the act of fringe elements.
“In the last 20 years, no Indian Muslim has been involved; violence is against Islam. The common man and the educated Kashmiris do not support it. But there are some isolated fringe elements… can’t help it,” he added.
Among his priorities, Mufti said, was bringing back and the rehabilitation of the Kashmiri Pandits. “Highly educated doctors, engineers and teachers were among those who left the Valley. My wish in life is to get all of them back to the state with full honour. I had tried it in 2005 and will continue with complete conviction,” Mufti added.