JAMMU and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Friday warned her Cabinet colleagues to perform or get ready to face stern action. Mufti, sources said, was addressing a high-level meeting of her Peoples Democratic Party leaders which included many legislators and ministers. Sources said that Mufti lashed out at legislators from Pulwama, which she said has been left “completely unattended” because no legislator even tries to go there.
Although the meeting was ostensibly called to discuss arrangements for PDP founders’ day on August 3, the tense situation on the ground, the inability of ministers to break the political impasse especially in South Kashmir and glaring gaps in governance became the main themes of the discussion.
“There were more than 100 party leaders present in the meeting at the CM’s residence including many zonal and district presidents,’’ a PDP leader who attended the meeting told The Indian Express. “Amng those who spoke were senior leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Baig, party’s vice president Sartaj Madni and party general secretary Nizam-ud-din Bhat spoke,’’ he said.
Sources said PDP zonal and district presidents complained that Ministers aren’t responding to the demands of political workers to alleviate the problems people face. They said that Mufti told the meeting that “she considers the ministers and legislators as her family members and that’s why she wouldn’t act tough…it will take two minutes (for me) to assert myself as Chief Minister”.
“She (Mufti) said that it is disheartening that a very low percentage of Central funds have been utilized by various departments until now. If there is such low utilization, how will development happen? She said that there will be an appraisal of ministries and utilization of funds will be one of the important criteria. She said she would call for records from each ministry and those who haven’t performed will be sacked,’’ the leader said. “She told the meeting that ministers have to shape up or ship out. She said that appraisal will be based on performance, public contact and behaviour towards workers.” Mufti, sources said, was especially upset with party leaders for ignoring Pulwama in South Kashmir, a one-time party bastion which is currently the centre of protests and militancy.
“She talked about the absence of any political activity in Pulwama. She said that nobody (among ministers) goes to Pulwama…why have we stopped doing anything there. Legislatorsaren’t going there at all. Ministers aren’t going there. This isn’t good. I will have to go there (to Pulwama) myself and begin the outreach,’’ the PDP leader said quoting Mufti.
“She asked (Revenue Minister and senior PDP leader) Abdul Rehman Veeri, who is chairman of the district development board of Pulwama to explain why he didn’t go there. She also asked Abdul Haq Khan, rural development minister, to explain why he hadn’t visited Pulwama. She said everybody seemed focused merely on transfers and postings alone. That’s a waste of time, delivery alone is important.”