Dismissing the reports that Narendra Modi is running a “centralised” government, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday heaped praise on the Prime Minister’s governance skills saying he is trying to evolve India as a “true federal structure”. Addressing the gathering on day one of the 2017 India Today Conclave, Mufti said,”Modi comes from a grassroot level, he is trying to reform the country in a federal structure.”
On the possibility of revoking the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from the state, Mufti exuded confidence in repealing the controversial Act saying: “Last year I felt we needed more security forces… at some point of time – six months or a year from now – if the situation improves, we need to think about revocation of AFSPA from parts and see if it works.”
Her remarks assume significance as the ruling alliance partners in Jammu and Kashmir – PDP and BJP –are not on the same page on AFSPA revocation in the state as the saffron party stressed that the controversial law should not be revoked unless peace and normalcy is restored in the state.
Further talking about cooperative federalism, Mufti said competition between states is a good thing, adding that it should be about development and not parties.
Commenting on the governance in the militancy-hit state, Mufti reiterated the proposition that J&K needs to be treated differently due to prevailing circumstances. “We are a border state, our sensitivities are different. We need to be treated differently because we are victims of skirmishes between the two countries. We get everything that we need from other states,” she said.
Insisting that Jammu and Kashmir is a safe state, Mufti also urged people to visit the picturesque state. “I would like to invite people to come and spend time with family, not just come and invest. Despite encounters, it is one of the safest states”.