Soon after taking oath, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Sunday stoked a controversy saying Hurriyat, militant outfits and “people from across the border”, an oblique reference to Pakistan, allowed conducive atmosphere for assembly polls, drawing sharp reaction from NC leader Omar Abdullah who demanded that BJP clarify its stand.
“I want to say this on record and I have told this to the Prime Minister that the we must credit the Hurriyat, Pakistan, militant outfits for the conduct of assembly elections in the state,” Sayeed said during a press conference here after being sworn in as head of the PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir at a ceremony which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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Flanked by deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh of BJP and newly inducted cabinet minister Haseeb Drabu, Sayeed said, “God forbid if they (militants) would have done something. It would not have been possible to have smooth conduct of the elections.”
Sayeed said that he felt proud that the people in the heart of Srinagar city came out in large number to vote and thanked the “people from across the border” for the “conducive atmosphere” for the smooth conduct of the elections.
“People from across the border made the atmosphere conducive. They also allowed the democratic process to continue in the state. This gives us a hope,” he said in a reference to Pakistan.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah hit out at Sayeed’s remarks and asked BJP to explain its stand.
“Pakistan, Huriyaat & Militants ALLOWED Peaceful conduct of elections” says Syeed, I guess we should be grateful to their generosity (sic).
“Pakistan, Huriyaat & Militants ALLOWED peaceful conduct of elections” says Mufti Syed. I guess we should be grateful for their generosity.
— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) March 1, 2015
“Dear @BJP4India Please explain role of security forces & Polling staff considering your CM just said, “Pakistan allowed elections in J&K”, Omar wrote on the microblogging site twitter.
Dear @BJP4India please explain roll of security forces & polling staff considering your CM just said “Pakistan allowed elections in J&K”.
— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) March 1, 2015
On a retweet about BJP worker in Jammu celebrating Omar wrote, “Or Just thanking Pak for JK elections.”
Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh also reacted sharpky saying it was PDP’s agenda to create communal divide in the state even as he sought an explanation from Narendra Modi.
“If the elections took place peacefully in J-K, if people’s participation was there, it was mainly because of the contribution and the cooperation of the Indian Army,” Singh said.
Speaking to reporters, Sayeed also voiced hope that the induction of separatist turned mainstream politician Sajjad Gani Lone in the Ministry would open avenues for others to follow the suit. “Sajjad Gani Lone has given an opening, an avenue for others (separatists) to follow,” he said.
He said peace is a pre-requisite of governance.
“They (referring to Pakistan) also have assets Hurriyat, other militants, if they had done something (during the election) such a participation of people was not possible. I am proud that heart of the Valley Sringar also came forward and participated in the elections,” Sayeed said.
“If Jammu and Kashmir have to be a model of growth, like people in Gujarat say ‘Good Governance’, peace is prerequisite,” he said.
Lauding the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a great statesman, Sayeed said the government will take forward his philosophy of “Insaniyat, Jamhooriat and Kashmiriyat”.
“We believed that Hurriyat and separatists also have a view point. We did not keep them locked in homes,” he said.
Sayeed said BJP and PDP have put together a great team to work together.
“History has given us an opportunity. Kashmir remained a problem before every Prime Minister be it Nehru, Shastri, Morarji and even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We want to change it. We want to make this alliance a turning point in trying to meet hearts and minds of the people,” he said.
Sayeed said people like it or not but it was his decision to bring together “North Pole and South Pole”.
He said Kashmir was the only Muslim majority state which rejected Jinnah’s theory and acceded to India.
“In Kashmir complete autonomy and in Jammu ‘Ek Pradhan, Ek Vidhan, Ek Nishan’. This has happened. We want to connect Kashmiri People with rest of the country, what is the purpose of connecting Kashmir with Jammu?…History has given us a chance. We have a majority in Kashmir, BJP has got 26 seats in Jammu,” he said.