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Not afraid of criticism for going ahead with BJP: Mehbooba

Not afraid of criticism for going ahead with BJP: Mehbooba
After two-month suspense, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti on Friday dropped hints of going ahead with Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in government formation, saying she was ‘not afraid’ of criticism over it but wanted the Centre to send out a ‘signal’ that it will do ‘everything’ for the welfare of people of Jammu and Kashmir.

She invoked her late father Mufti Sayeed, saying he had “not joined hands with BJP as a party but it was a coalition between the Central government and the people of Jammu and Kashmir” with an aim of benefitting the people of the state.

“For us, the decision taken by my father.., if that aim and that aspiration is fulfilled then I am not afraid if people blame me for going with BJP whether they feel good or bad. If people are benefitted then there is no issue,” Mehbooba said while launching party’s membership drive here. 

“When it came to the benefit of people, my father did not care about the party. He rose above everything and joined hands with BJP for the welfare of the people”, she said. 

Insisting that she was not an ‘adamant’ lady, she said her party leaders want the formation of the government but she will do that when she feels that the bigger aim was fulfilled.

And if the aim of forgoing an alliance with BJP is fulfilled, then she has no objection in forming the government, she said.

“If I feel that the aim is fulfilled, which is the need of the hour, situation is not normal in Jammu and Kashmir after Mufti’s death. My father did not join hands with BJP as a party. The coalition was between the Central government and the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “If they send such a signal that for the people of Jammu and Kashmir for their welfare they will do everything. It is such a huge country, its treasures would not run empty,” Mehbooba said.

She went on to add, “If at any time I feel that they (Centre) have space in their hearts for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and a framework which we have made and they are ready to put colours in that framework, then I do not have any hesitation in becoming Chief Minister of this state would be a matter of honour.” 

Mehbooba, whose party has 27 MLAs in the 87-member Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, said “if the promises are not fulfilled and the formation of the government means to keep away from the elections for five years, then she was not ready (to become the Chief Minister). “If I feel that these are only hollow promises and nothing will come out of it and that our MLAs would become ministers and we would not have to face elections for 4-5 years, then I am not ready (to form the government),” the PDP chief said.

PDP, along with 25-member BJP, ran a coalition government headed by Mufti Sayeed for 10 months before the sudden demise of the then Chief Minister on January 7. The state is currently under Governor’s Rule since January 8 as Mehbooba, seen as successor to her father, did not stake claim for government formation.

“You all are important for me. That is why, instead of taking oath, I have come to meet you,” she told her party workers. She said she was not an adamant lady but wants peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

“You saw how two young officers lost their lives,” she said apparently referring to the Pampore encounter last month in which two Army Captains were killed while flushing out three terrorists holded up in a government building.

“Yesterday an encounter took place and a child who died in it had scored 98 per cent marks. Why did he pick up weapons if he was good in studies? We have to work to make such an environment where these kids don’t take to the gun but work to strengthen this country,” she said.

She said her father had a dream of bringing about peace in Jammu and Kashmir to bring an end to the bloodshed.
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