EVEN as the Narendra Modi government at the Centre on Monday distanced itself from the statement given by Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Pakistan and Hurriyat role in peaceful and massive turnout during 2014 assembly elections in the state, the controversy refuses to die down as the newly appointed CM said that he stood by the statement and accused the media of raising a hue and cry over it by trying to “make mountain of a mole hill”.
“I stand by what I said. Indian constitution allows democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir. Even Pakistan has understood that it is the only way to start democracy in the state,” Mufti said, adding, “The media is making a mountain out of mole hill about my statement.”
Mufti, who is heading a PDP-BJP coalition government in the state, soon after his swearing in on Sunday had credited Pakistan and the separatist Hurriyat Conference for smooth and massive turnout during assembly elections held in the Valley last year.
Under attack for the remarks, Mufti said that only a part of what he had said yesterday was highlighted while the “positive things” were ignored.
“They want to make mountain out of a mole hill. The positive things that I spoke about yesterday were not highlighted, but more focus was on what Mufti said.
Claiming to have told this even to the Prime Minister during his one and a half hour long meeting in Delhi, Mufti said that Hurriyat and even people across the border have their assets here. “If they had decided to do something, there would not have been such a large scale participation of people in the electoral process,” maintained Mufti.
His daughter Mehbooba Mufti, who is also the PDP president, defended Mufti Sayeed saying the he has not said anything wrong. “As compared to Lok Sabha elections, violence had been less in assembly polls. Moreover, there had been no door to door campaign by Hurriyat asking people to boycott assembly polls,” she said, adding that Mufti only acknowledged this fact.
Significantly, statements by Mufti Sayeed and his daughter came within hours after Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha that “credit for conducive environment for polls in Jammu Kashmir goes to the Election Commission, our armed forces and the people of the state”.