Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders should go to Gujarat for campaigning and should not come to J&K.
Mufti in a rally in Srinagar said the BJP sends a huge number of leaders and Union ministers to Kashmir for photo-ops and claim that “all is well” in Kashmir. She said such campaigning should be done in Gujarat, not Kashmir.
She said, “Please go to Gujarat and campaign there. Why are you coming here? The Jammu and Kashmir assembly was the most powerful assembly in the country having its own Constitution and flag. You are coming here to say you held the panchayat elections in Kashmir. If Panchayat elections are so good, why don’t you resign and join panchayats?”
Mufti also said the people should continue their struggle for the restoration of J&K’s special status. She added that everything taken away from the people of Jammu and Kashmir, including Article 370 of the Constitution of India, will be brought back “along with interest”.
The BJP lashed out at Mufti’s speech and said she is “daydreaming”. Mufti also raised the issue of security situation in J&K. “Our lives have been turned into hell. Youths are arrested. They are kept in jails. On one hand, militants are killing policemen, Kashmiri Pandits, outside labourers, and on the other hand, our youths are being killed by our own gun in the name of hybrid militants and white colour militants,” said Mufti.
She further said the government says they are fighting drug abuse but, at the same time, the government is opening liquor shops everywhere.
“This is how you want people to get addicted,” said Mufti. Mufti asked the BJP not to become aggressors. “You played with our identity and destroyed the whole Jammu and Kashmir state. This will not work,” said Mufti, adding that the people should not lose hope and she was ready for any sacrifice.
The speech unnerved the BJP and the party has issued several statements to criticise Mufti. BJP General Secretary Tarun Chugh on Sunday said that BJP has developed Kashmir and brought it on the map of tourism across the globe.
Chugh said that after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 (A), Jammu and Kashmir is on the path of development and while there is still a long way to go, the party has not snatched anything as claimed by Mehbooba Mufti.
Another BJP leader and party’s J&K spokesman Altaf Thakur said Mufti was daydreaming and perhaps not aware of the fact that over 350 MPs voted in favour of Article 370 rollback and that PDP cannot even win one parliamentary seat.
Thakur added that all regions, whether Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, or Jammu and Kashmir, are same for the BJP and party leaders can cite the example of Gujarat in Kashmir and Kashmir’s example in Gujarat.