Responding to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah accusing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of bias against Jammu and Ladakh, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said her party remained committed to the Agenda of Alliance (AoA).
This is the first time Mehbooba has taken to Twitter to target the BJP — her former ally — after they withdrew support from the alliance with the PDP, causing the coalition government to collapse. Since Mehbooba resigned as chief minister, she has condemned civilian killings and warned the Centre of “serious consequences” if any changes are made to Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
Mehbooba, bringing up the state’s special status and the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, hinted at the issues her party is going to take up over the next few days. She also met governor NN Vohra and insisted that Jammu and Kashmir’s special status be maintained.
In a series of tweets, she said:
“Allegations of discrimination against Jammu and Ladakh have no basis in reality. Yes, the Valley has been in turmoil for a long time and the floods of 2014 were a setback, therefore needed focused attention. But that does not mean that there was any less development elsewhere.”
“Results on the ground for all to see. If anything, they should review the performance of their own ministers, who largely represented the Jammu region, if there were any such concerns. None among them either at state or central level talked about it in the last three years.”
“After expressing concern about freedom of expression in Jammu and Kashmir following Shujaat’s murder, their MLA, notorious and even punished for his role in the aftermath of the unfortunate Kathua case, still threatens journalists belonging to the Valley. So what are they going to do about him?”
Analysts say Mehbooba is acting as the Opposition even more than the National Conference (NC). The NC, headed by Farooq Abdullah, seems clueless after the fall of the government, they said, adding that the breakup of the alliance has relieved PDP leaders and Mehbooba of the shackles of coalition politics.
In an interview to Firstpost after the Centre had announced “non-initiation of combat operations” (NICO) in the Valley, Mehbooba had praised the central government for halting operations against militants. She had said that NICO would help maintain calm during the holy month of Ramzan. “It is one of things we are committed to,” she had said.
The perceived discrimination against Jammu is an oft-repeated slogan during election season to rouse the passions of the people of Jammu against the Kashmir region and its politicians. Either way, Jammu’s infrastructure and economy is way ahead of Kashmir.
“We cannot be part of any government that discriminates against the Jammu and Ladakh regions and fails to restore peace,” Shah said while addressing a rally in Jammu. “We will also not allow any such government to run in the state.”
Shah was referring to the BJP’s core constituencies, Jammu and Ladakh, where the party won all three parliamentary seats in the 2014 elections. The issue of perceived underdevelopment and discrimination will, once again, be the biggest issue in Jammu when the state goes to polls. It is also likely to dominate national conversation.
News Credit: First Post