New Delhi : Clearly feeling boxed in after Mufti Mohammad Sayeed gave ample indications of his political intent by showering praise on Pakistan and the Kashmiri separatist, the Centre on Monday distanced itself from the statement. But even as Home Minister Rajnath Singh asserted in the Lok Sabha that the Centre disassociates itself from Mufti’s statement crediting Pakistan and Hurriyat for smooth conduct of assembly elections, the Congress leadership sought an explanation from the Prime Minister as the Mufti, by his own admission, had made similar observations in Mod’s presence, too. With no such assurance forthcoming from the government, the Congress staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha.
It is apparent that the common minimum programme, to which the stakeholders have agreed to, has inherent limitations. The BJP-alliance is anchored less in a broad political understanding between the two sides and is more rooted in the BJP’s desperation to form a government in Kashmir.
Such pinpricks, observers point out, will continue much to the embarrassment of the BJP. The PDP, having had its way on Article 370 and the Armed Forces Act, is in a win-win situation. To what extent the BJP leadership can leverage its position will depend on its ability to use Central assistance as a bargaining chip.
The Mufti had said yesterday: ”I want to say this on record and I have told this to the Prime Minister that we must credit the Hurriyat, militant outfits for the conduct of assembly elections in the state. God forbid if they (militants) would have done something, it would not have been possible to have smooth conduct of the elections. People from across the border made the atmosphere conducive. They also allowed the democratic process to continue in the state. This gives us a hope.” Now even as he did not elaborate on the nature of the hope, with the former separatist turned politician Sajjad Lone joining his cabinet, the Mufti hoped that this would open avenues for others to follow suit. “Kashmir was the only Muslim majority state which rejected Jinnah’s theory and acceded to India,” he added.
‘May be we should be grateful to Pakistan and the Hurriyat for the generosity,” said former J&K chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah while questioning BJP about the role played by the state government and the security forces in ensuring smooth and peaceful conduct of the elections.