Trying to quell dissent within the PDP after the BJP parted ways with her party to bring down her government in Jammu and Kashmir, former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti warned the Centre that any attempt to break the PDP will have a “very dangerous” outcome.
“My party is strong, there are differences which can be resolved… if Delhi tries to dismiss the voting rights of people as in 1987, and if it tries to create divisions, then I believe that just like a Salahuddin and a Yasin Malik were born in 1987… If they try the same thing now and interfere… if it tries to break PDP, then the outcome will be very dangerous,” she told reporters outside the Martyrs’ Graveyard in Srinagar.
Emphasising that “without Delhi” there can be no break up or alliance in J&K, Mehbooba said the PDP is intact and “homes have problems that can be resolved”.
She was referring to rumblings within her party following the collapse of her government. At least four PDP MLAs and an MLC have spoken out against her leadership, accusing her of running the party like a “family fiefdom”. PDP MLC Yasir Reshi, who called for “an end to the two family politics” in Kashmir, was Thursday removed as the PDP’s Bandipore district president.
On her presence at the Martyrs’ Graveyard — of those killed in firing by troops of the Dogra ruler on this day in 1931 during protests against his rule — Mehbooba said the people “buried here sacrificed their lives for restoration of people’s order in Kashmir. I have come here to pay my respects to these martyrs and I pray that the rights of the people, for the restoration of which they sacrificed lives, that may always last.” The foundation for people’s rule in J&K, she said, was set up here.
Reacting to Mehbooba’s statement, NC leader and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “She must really be desperate if she is threatening the Centre with renewed militancy if PDP breaks up. She seems to have forgotten that militancy in Kashmir has already been reborn under her most able administration. Not one new militant will be created with the break up of the PDP. People will not mourn the demise of a party created in Delhi only to divide the votes of Kashmiris.”
PDP’s rebel MLAs too took exception to Mehbooba’s comments. “Her statement today… to suggest that MLAs are up for sale, and to label us as such that we would dance to anyone’s tunes, this is like throwing us in front of a lynch mob. Our families and our workers are at risk,” Baramulla MLA Javed Beigh said.
Stating that he considers “Kashmir’s accession to India final”, Beig questioned Mehbooba’s remarks. “Is she suggesting that we will take such a decision to sell our people for our future? We condemn it. It is unfortunate she is insinuating that we are separatists, that our voters and supporters are from the Hurriyat, or there are militant organisations associated with us,” he said.
Former PDP minister Imran Reza Ansari told reporters: “This is not a small allegation. Repercussions will be for all to see in the coming days.” One of the first PDP MLAs to speak out against Mehbooba, Ansari said: “What she has said is a desperate attempt. She is trying to blackmail Delhi… She does not know that Delhi has changed.”
In Jammu, BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta called Mehbooba’s remarks “unfortunate’’. He said her allegation that the BJP has been trying to split her party is “baseless’’ and “the outcome of frustration in view of uncertainty in her political career, in view of the denial of support by her own party men’’.