All political parties, including the BJP, have termed saffron party president Amit Shah’s allegations against the PDP’s discriminating policies with Jammu and Ladakh as half-truths.
Most leaders were of the view that Shah’s speech made in Jammu on Saturday lacked conviction as he desperately tried to safeguard the BJP.
“Whatever Amit Shah said in Jammu indicated two things: one, he was totally defensive; and two, he virtually exposed his own ministers. While they were in government, the BJP ministers did not assert their position and authority just to keep the Chief Minister in good humour – a fact that Mehbooba Mufti herself today disclosed while rebutting all charges levelled by Amit Shah,” said Hari Om, a former BJP vice-president.
It would be no exaggeration to say that Amit Shah came to Jammu all the way from New Delhi to tender an unconditional apology in a sophisticated manner, he said.
Senior Congress leader and former minister Sham Lal also termed Amit Shah’s address a string of “escapist statements”. “How can Amit Shah forget that his own party was part of the coalition that ran the government for three years? The BJP itself is to be blamed for ignoring Jammu as it had left its core ideology to be the B team in the government,” said Sham Lal.
Commenting on Shah’s remorse over non-completion of smart city and AIIMS projects in Jammu, Sham Lal pointedly remarked that both departments of housing and urban development as well as health were held by Jammu ministers.
Bharatiya Janata Party senior leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta refused to comment on Shah’s speech but admitted that some departments held by the BJP were directly linked with the Rs 80,000-crore Central package and they could have ensured its execution.
“We could not execute our part due to the interference of the coalition partner,” he lamely replied.
The National Conference too dismissed Amit Shah’s public claim about the BJP pulling out due to pressure groups not allowing the smooth functioning of the government.
“It was a collective responsibility of both parties to address their particular constituencies on development and public issues. The NC-Congress governments in the past worked in tandem despite many pressures, but never succumbed. Neither did they hold each other responsible for anything,” said Nasir Aslam, NC provincial president.
Shah’s speech left many BJP supporters unimpressed too. “Amit Shah’s public speech lacked conviction. By now, the BJP should know Jammu cannot fall prey to machinations of any kind,” said Kuldeep Raj, a BJP supporter from Jammu East constituency.
Meanwhile, a day after Amit Shah attacked her at a rally in Jammu, the PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti Sunday hit back at former ally BJP, terming the saffron party’s allegations and reasons for withdrawing support to the coalition government led by her as false. “Allegations of discrimination against Jammu &Ladakh have no basis in reality,” Mufti said in a series of tweets.
The BJP has repeatedly cited discrimination against Jammu and Ladakh regions and “deteriorating situation” in the state as reasons for withdrawing support to Mufti-led PDP-BJP coalition government.
At a rally in Jammu on Saturday, Shah launched a scathing attack on PDP, saying the Mufti-led government had discriminated against Jammu and Ladakh.
“We cannot be part of any such government that discriminates against Jammu and Ladakh regions and fails to restore peace. We will also not allow any such government to run in the state,” Shah had said at the rally.
On Sunday, Mufti retaliated saying the coalition government functioned according to the alliance agenda co-authored by the BJP man in charge of J&K, Ram Madhav which was endorsed by the ruling party’s senior leaders like home minister Rajnath Singh.
“Yes, the valley has been in turmoil for a long time & the floods of 2014 were a setback, therefore needed focused attention. But that does not mean that there was any less development elsewhere,” she clarified.
The PDP president also said the results were on the ground for all to see and asked the BJP to review performance of its own ministers in the state government who “largely represented” Jammu.
“If there were any concerns, none among them either at state or central level talked about it during the last 3 years,” Mufti said.
On the other hand the PDP leaders believe a “consistent push” by the party seeking implementation of key features of the agenda, both political and economical, was the reason for BJP to “ditch” the alliance.
Before the government was felled, the PDP had been demanding extension of Ramadhan ceasefire and talks with Pakistan and separatists for resolving Kashmir dispute.
Mufti’s moves to allot land to Jamiat-e-Ahlehadees for Edigah had also annoyed BJP apart from the government decision to grant amnesty to over 11,000 youth accused for involvement in stone pelting protests.
While abolition of Article 370 and state’s special position in union of India has been part of BJP agenda, the PDP-led government was fighting a judicial battle in different courts in New Delhi for its protection.
“Encouraging dialogue, withdrawing cases against stonepelters& the unilateral ceasefire were much needed measures to restore confidence on the ground. This was recognized & endorsed by BJP,” Mufti posted on Twitter.
As Chief Minister, Mufti took a hard stand on Rasana rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl which ultimately forced BJP to drop two ministers from her cabinet who had participated in a rally in support of the accused.
“We are talking about Kashmir centric measures because the unrest is in Kashmir and not in Jammu. The situation in Jammu is absolutely fine,” said PDP senior leader Naeem Akhter.
Another PDP leader, AR Veeri countered Shah saying he was “quite careless” in his speech at the Jammu rally.
“He (Shah) perhaps has forgotten that BJP was equal partner in the coalition and the BJP ministers were holding key portfolios in the government,” Veeri said.
“The undeniable fact is that the smart city proposals, power reforms, establishment of medical colleges are in limbo and interestingly all the ministries were with the BJP.”
BJP Chargesheet aganist PDP
Batted for ceasefire; talks with Pak, separatists
Wanted extension of ceasefire
Pushed for implementation of AoA
Took stand in Kathua rape-and-murder case; 2 BJP ministers were ousted
Directions to authorities not to harass members from tribal communities
Govt announced policy for amnesty to stone-pelters
Announced allotment of land to religious group Jamat-e-Ahlihadees for Eidgah
By blaming others, he can’t befool people: Sham Lal
Jammu: Senior Congress leader Sham Lal Sharma on Sunday expressed surprise over BJP national president Amit Shah accepting the failure of his government to deliver for Jammu. Addressing a public meeting at Akhnoor, Sharma said perhaps Shah must not be aware that his party was in coalition with the PDP, whom he criticised in the public. “Shah accepted that the work on AIIMS hasn’t yet taken off. I would like to inform him that the health ministry was being headed by BJP ministers and the responsibility lies with them. Similarly, blame of non-utilisation of funds for Smart City lies with the BJP because the former Deputy CM was heading the Urban Development Department,” he said. “By blaming others, Shah can’t befool the people of Jammu as the entire blame of misgovernance lies with the BJP. Either the BJP national president is having no knowledge about the state BJP role in the administration or he intentionally did it to gain sympathy from the people of Jammu,” the Congress leader said.
BJP MLAs should resign for failing to deliver: NC
Jammu: The NC on Sunday said all 25 BJP MLAs should resign voluntarily since their national president Amit Shah accepted the failure of his government in delivering for what they were voted to by the people of Jammu. “By Shah’s admission that his party has failed to deliver on the expectations of J&K in general and Jammu in particular, all these 25 MLAs should resign,” Devender Singh Rana, provincial president of the NC, said. Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, Rana said: “The BJP MLAs should voluntarily resign and ensure the dissolution of the House so that re-elections can happen”. Rana said the BJP president talked of AIIMS not being allowed to take off, three medical colleges still stuck in construction stage, Smart City for Jammu not seeing the light of the day and hindrance in the Tawi lake project.