Mehbooba seeks escape route from J&K mess, flashes victim card

Outgoing chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, on Tuesday sought to play the victim card and tried to wriggle out of the situation she has been pushed in due to the BJP’s abrupt decision to pull out of her government by saying “muscular (security) policy will not work in Jammu and Kashmir”.

The BJP’s national general secretary Ram Madhav had earlier said that the alliance with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) was untenable and ought to blame the State government for the rise in violence, terrorism and radicalisation in the Valley.

Mehbooba Mufti, apparently laying out a roadmap ahead for her party, said its patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had in 2015 opted to cobble up a coalition with the saffron party for a bigger cause. She said that the coalition was crafted with the BJP only after taking the needs of the state into consideration.

Meticulously planned

“Our alliance with BJP was meticulously planned. We joined hands to solve the issues that Kashmir was facing,” she said while speaking to reporters at her official residence after submitting her resignation to Governor NN Vohra at Raj Bhavan.

Conceding that choosing the BJP as an ally did not go down well with the people in the Valley, she said it was done for a bigger cause. “The ideas for which we chose BJP as an ally to form government were bigger. We wanted talks with government, a unilateral cease-fire in Jammu and Kashmir, a policy of reconciliation and confidence-building-measures to address the issues,” she said.

She insisted that the PDP did not do it for power but to safeguard the interests of the people of J&K. “Had we done it for power then there were numbers with National Conference and Congress. We did it for some objective,” she asserted.

Mufti also said that her government preserved Article 370 of the Constitution and also stood strong in defence of Article 35-A, that the cases against 11,000 first time stone-pelters were withdrawn, Prime Minister Narendra Mode visited Pakistan for talks and unilateral cease-fire for Ramzan was announced. She said that her government also retained the territorial integrity of the state and addressed the insecurity of the minority in a case of cow vigilantism.

The chief minister said that she was not shocked by the BJP’s decision and reiterated that the main motive of forming the government with it was to preserve the special status of the state and build an atmosphere of reconciliation. “I’m not shocked. We didn’t do this alliance for power.”

PTI adds:

Mehbooba Mufti’s tenure as Jammu and Kashmir chief minister came to an abrupt end with a call from governor NN Vohra, who informed her that the BJP had pulled out of its alliance with the PDP, officials said. It was a working day just as any other for Mehbooba, who was in her office in the civil secretariat when chief secretary BB Vyas received the phone call that signalled the end of her maiden tenure as chief minister, they said.

The governor asked Vyas where the chief minister was and asked him to immediately arrange a call with her, they said. This was minutes before BJP general secretary Ram Madhav addressed a press conference in the national capital around 2 pm to announce the decision.

Vyas duly arranged the call. The governor, according to officials in the know of developments, informed Mehbooba about the BJP’s decision, which was conveyed to him in a letter sent by BJP state president Ravinder Raina along with the resignation letters of the BJP ministers.

Mehbooba, 59, listened to the news in silence, and after a pause said there was no need for talks with the BJP and she would be submitting her resignation, the officials said. Soon after, Ram Madhav made his announcement in Delhi.