Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said the People’s Democratic Party decided to enter a “suicidal” alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party in the hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would resolve Kashmir’s problems, PTI reported. Mufti was speaking at an event organised by the Observer Research Foundation in Mumbai.
The state has been under governor’s rule since June, when the Bharatiya Janata Party walked out of a coalition with the People’s Democratic Party, causing the elected government to fall.
Mufti said her party had expected Modi to reach out to Pakistan. “We knew it [alliance with the BJP] was suicidal for the party,” Mufti said. “Yet we put everything at stake. For a party which is seen as one that encourages talks with separatists, we thought Modi will rise to the occasion and since [former Prime Minister Atal Bihari) Vajpayee did not have that kind of a mandate, we thought he will reach out to Pakistan, to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and start what Vajpayee had left.”
She described the period when Vajpayee was prime minister and her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, was Jammu and Kashmir chief minister as the “golden period” in the state.
The former chief minister said the party did not mind if the decision to ally with the BJP would result in its end. “We took the disillusionment [of people] on us for this purpose,” Mufti said.
She said the dispute between India and Pakistan was holding operations at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation hostage. “Why can’t all the SAARC countries come together and make Jammu and Kashmir a model for co-operation of SAARC countries,” she said. “Let’s have a SAARC office of all countries in Jammu and Kashmir. Let’s have a handicraft university of SAARC countries in Kashmir because there is no better place for handicraft than Kashmir,” she said.