Mehbooba Mufti mulling separate course from BJP?


JAMMU:  PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti today indirectly hinted that she will not mind charting a separate course from BJP in Jammu and Kashmir  if the central government fails to make ‘commitments’ that PDP is pushing for.

“My father spent 55 years in politics and he always believed in healthy politics.Therefore, if I have to chose between ‘principle’ and ‘chair’ (power) then I’ll definitely go for ‘principle’, Mehbooba said while addressing party workers in Jammu.

Mehbooba’s statement assumes significance as it comes just 2 days after she met J&K governor to discuss government formation in the state.

This was her first address to PDP workers after her father’s demise last month. Friday meeting of PDP workers was also attended by Mehbooba’s brother Tassaduq Mufti who she is believed to be grooming for a bigger role in Jammu and Kashmir politics.

Giving a clear signal that PDP under her leadership may not tread the same path that was followed by late Mufi Mohammad Sayeed, Mehbooba said, “PDP-BJP alliance was not popular either in Jammu or Kashmir. Mufi sahib entered into alliance with BJP only for the sake of state’s development.”

“We are not as much of a visionary as Mufti sahib was. For forming government in the state, we need some commitments from the central government. It’s not about finances. We need to create right atmosphere. It will be good if that atmosphere is created otherwise things will continue as it is,” Mehbooba added.

Recalling how Mufti Muhammad Sayeed ‘preferred public service and principles over power’, Mehbooba Mufti said that her party will work with renewed vigour to carry forward the vision of peace and development that the great leader has left behind as a practical and inclusive agenda for resolving the issues facing Jammu and Kashmir.

“Our party patron has left no assets in property but his legacy of the more than half a century of public service comprise his ideas and the party that he established to give democracy its real competitive edge”, Mehbooba said while addressing a convention of party district and zonal presidents of Jammu region, here today.

She said that the vision put together by the leader was a roadmap for the party and its workers. “We will have to strengthen our roots, go to the masses and carry forward that mission with renewed vigour, zeal and enthusiasm, which will be the biggest tribute to the great leader”, she said while announcing that her party will soon launch state-wide membership drive.

She said that Mufti Muhammad Sayeed not only changed the dynamics of politics but set new benchmarks in governance itself. 

“Though during the political career of around half a century he (Mufti) remained in power for only 10 to 12 years he set new standards of transparency and accountability”, she said. “Right from the day he became a minister in a young age in 1965 Mufti Sahab chose a path for himself. He gave new direction to the concept of being a political representative and devoted his entire life for the welfare of masses”.

“He remained Chief Minister for only three years before 2015 but his government outshined all previous regimes by providing relief to the common masses,” Mehbooba said. “The achievements on political, economic and development fronts during his just three year tenure as Chief Minister have no match in the political history of Jammu and Kashmir”.

“His service to the state is judged today by his work, determination and performance and not by the years he held power”, she said adding that was why the 2002-2005 tenure is still considered to be golden era of Jammu and Kashmir. He is known for his performance, sincerity, accountability, transparency and delivery, she said while recalling how he kept working despite ailing health and doctors’ advice during the last nine months.

“The party not only offered vision of integration of regions, peace, development, reconciliation and strengthening of democratic institutions but it worked practically in these directions as well”, she said.“We were part of Congress when Mufti Sahab decided to form a new party in order to provide a regional alternate to the people. We were comfortable within the largest political party of the country but he (Mufti) sacrificed power for the interest of people”.

“Mufti Sahib always preferred principles over power and it will remain a guiding code for us”, she further told the workers.

She said Mufti Muhammad Sayeed was first to present the concept of Jammu as an independent tourist destination and has infact laid down a blue print for diversifying tourist activities which have so far remained confined to pilgrimage. “He was keen to see immediate progress on various projects including expansion of Jammu airport, construction of Mubarak Mandi heritage complex, artificial Tawi Lake, development of tourism infrastructure on Ranjeet Sagar, Baghliar and Dul Hasti dams”.

Speaking on the occasion Member Parliament and senior party leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig said that the demise of Mufti Sahib has created a void not only within the party but in the entire sub-continent. 

“He has, however, left behind a force and an organization to reckon with. He has left behind a legacy of principles. He has shown us the way and left the vision to be carry forward”, Baig said while asking the party workers to organize themselves at the ground level. He recalled the struggle the party leadership went through when the decision to launch PDP was taken. 

“About 200 people initially joined the new regional party out of whom 50 eminent persons resigned overnight for some unknown reasons. The organization of 150 political workers is today the largest political party of Jammu and Kashmir. The party raised to the status of number one with regard to the number of constituencies it represents, number of votes it got and number of political workers it has in a short span of around 15 years”, he said adding, “It was the stature and leadership qualities of Mufti Muhammad Sayed which strengthen the idea and vision and created a trust among the people”.

Baig said that demise of Mufti Muhammad Sayed, that too at this crucial juncture, has no doubt saddened the common people and party workers but at the same time “we are fortunate to have a leader like Ms Mehbooba Mufti at the driving seat. Her leadership qualities, organizational skills, vision and political understanding are no less. We have not doubts in mind that we are in safe hands”.

Former Minister and Member Legislative Council Naeem Akhtar also spoke on the occasion and elaborated the vision and policies of the party. 

He also highlighted the challenges for the party ahead and said that the late leader has set new benchmarks in the politics as well as in governance.

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