War of words: Mehbooba Mufti hits back, says BJP disowning its own initiative as ‘soft’

Addressing a rally in Jammu on Saturday, Amit Shah had blamed the PDP’s “soft approach” for the deteriorating situation in the Valley. He had also accused the Mehbooba Mufti government of “discriminating against Jammu and Ladakh.

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar | Updated: June 25, 2018 6:55:44 am
War of words: Mehbooba Mufti hits back, says BJP disowning its own initiative as ‘soft’ Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti engages in a war of words on Twitter against BJP. (Express file photo)

Less than a week after the BJP pulled out of the Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, a war of words has begun between the two former allies. While BJP president Amit Shah, on Saturday, accused the PDP of not honouring the Agenda of Alliance (AoA), the former chief minister hit back on Sunday, saying it was “sad” to see the BJP “disown their own initiative and label it a soft approach”.

“Many false charges levelled against us by our former allies. Our commitment to the Agenda of Alliance, co-authored by Ram Madhav & endorsed by senior leaders like Rajnath Ji never wavered. It is sad to see them disown their own initiative & label it a ‘soft approach’,” she tweeted.

Addressing a rally in Jammu on Saturday, Shah had blamed the PDP’s “soft approach” for the deteriorating situation in the Valley. He had also accused the Mufti government of “discriminating against Jammu and Ladakh”.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, the former chief minister said the measures taken were “recognised and endorsed by BJP”. “Status quo on Article 370, dialogue with Pakistan & Hurriyat were a part of AoA. Encouraging dialogue, withdrawing cases against stone-pelters & the unilateral ceasefire were much-needed measures to restore confidence on the ground. This was recognized & endorsed by BJP,” she tweeted.

“Allegations of discrimination against Jammu & Ladakh have no basis in reality. Yes, the Valley has been in turmoil for a long time & the floods of 2014 were a setback, therefore needed focused attention. But that does not mean that there was any less development elsewhere,” she said.

“Results on the ground for all to see. If anything, they should review the performance of their own ministers, who largely represented the Jammu region if there were any such concerns, none among them, either at state or central level, talked about it during the last 3 years,” she said.

Referring to the killing of Army Rifleman Aurangzeb and Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari, Shah had said: “How can a government on whose watch Aurangzeb and an editor are killed, continue?”

Responding to this, Mufti tweeted: “After expressing concern about freedom of expression in J&K following Shujaat’s murder, their MLA, notorious & even punished for his role in the aftermath of the unfortunate Kathua case, still threatens journalists belonging to the Valley, so what are they going to do about him?”

Choudhary Lal Sngh, BJP MLA from Basohli in Kathua district, had, on Friday, warned journalists from the Valley to “fall in line”, asking if they wanted to meet the “same fate” as Bukhari.

Mufti also stood by her decision not to hand over the Kathua rape and murder case to the CBI. “Not handing over the Rasana rape & murder case to CBI, getting the pro-rapist ministers removed & also issuing orders not to harass the Gujjar & Bakarwal community in the guise of anti-encroachment drives were my duties as CM to provide a sense of security to both communities,” she tweeted.

Citing “the larger national interest” and “deteriorating security situation”, the BJP walked out of the alliance on June 19, after three years of a coalition between two ideologically opposed parties.

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