Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday said that she will not contest any elections till Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 is restored. Mufti said that the results of the recently conducted District Development Council elections, in which the Gupkar Alliance – a coalition of regional parties – won 110 constituencies, have exposed the BJP-led central government.
“When it comes to Assembly polls, I will not file any elections until and unless Jammu and Kashmir’s own Constitution is brought back...until Article 370 is restored,” she said in an interview to NDTV. She further said that the matter of selecting a chief ministerial candidate for the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, will be discussed among the constituent parties but she will not be one of the contenders.
The alliance said that people have primarily voted for the alliance, which implies that it was a “loud and clear” message for the Centre to realise that people have not forgotten about the Centre’s decisions in Jammu and Kashmir. “...Article 370 still lives in our hearts and minds and we will fight for it until our last breath,” she said.
She claimed the results showed that people of Jammu and Kashmir rejected the Centre’s decision last year to scrap the erstwhile state’s special status.
“This is like a referendum on the scrapping of Article 370 and BJP themselves kept harping on the subject during campaigning,” she said, according to NDTV. “The result shows that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have rejected that narrative. They have rejected scrapping of Article 370.”
On being asked about possible conflict with the Farooq Abdullah-led National Conference, which is also part of the Gupkar Alliance, Mufti said that they will unite for the larger cause. “We are Kashmiris at the end of the day,” she said, speaking to the news channel. “We are not talking only about elections but for the larger cause of restoring what was lost.”
Mufti also defended her father and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s decision to partner with the Bharatiya Janata Party after the 2014 Assembly elections.
“Mufti Sahab did not join hands with [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi but with the prime minister of India to resolve the problems of Kashmir,” she said. “Our agenda was the same and we entered into the alliance on our terms. They agreed to everything but after the government fell, they did what they wanted.”
On August 5, 2019, the Centre abrogated the Article 370 of the Constitution that granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated it into two Union Territories – Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh.