As the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) faced a rout in the Valley this Lok Sabha election, the surprising outcome was the loss of its president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti from her south Kashmir bastion. A former Member of Parliament from Anantnag, Mufti, in an interview to The Indian Express, said her party’s alliance with the BJP after the 2014 assembly polls to form a coalition government had played a role in the PDP’s failure to win a single seat this time. Excerpts:
Your party lost three seats in the Valley. Had you foreseen such a result?
I was expecting a lot of anger among the people; whatever have been my failings or shortcomings for the last couple of years. I was expecting the people to be angry, they have given love and shown affection to me in the past. So something must have angered them and they expressed it through the votes.
What do you think went wrong? Do you think the PDP- BJP alliance in J&K led to today’s results?
That was something people didn’t kind of take well. They were angry and upset about it. But it was done with a larger interest and larger vision for the people. It was less of a drawback and more of anger against our decision to form an alliance with the BJP. Yes, it played (alliance) a role in it (loss).
What would be your next step, particularly as the assembly elections in J&K are still pending?
We have a party which was made with a vision. Mufti Sahib had established it with a great vision. Our agenda is for the resolution of Kashmir, so we shall continue doing that. Elections come and go, people win and lose, that is part of politics. It doesn’t anyway change things on the ground. Our fight is still the same and the situation is still the same on the ground. We have to kind of fight and struggle for the resolution of the Kashmir issue. There is bloodshed every day in the Valley. Last time, the National Conference had lost three seats and we had won. So, this is part of politics and one has to adapt to it.
BJP has come with a big mandate at the Centre. What do you think is the reason behind such a win?
I really don’t know. There were so many issues like farmers distress, GST, unemployment, demonetization and the economy declining but they still won. Maybe, it has to do more with polarization.
What does the loss mean for the PDP?
The party was not formed for the sake of elections. The party was formed with a purpose and my father wanted to bridge the gap and make J&K a bridge between India and Pakistan. That is still there and we will strive for that.