Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s silence on crucial political issues reflected her lack of conviction and her guilt and had consequently created an atmosphere of political disempowerment within the State.
This was stated by Ex-Chief Minister and MLA Beerwah Omar Abdullah on Friday while speaking on the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address to the joint session of the state legislator. He said that it was ironic that the PDP-BJP government managed to get the Governor to praise their deceased ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ while both parties were aware that every single alphabet and letter in the document stood shattered and reneged.
“Although you got the Governor to praise the PDP-BJP ‘Agenda of the Alliance’, you have watched as mute spectators as every single promise and agreement made in the document has been violated. Be it the promise of achieving the return of power projects or the promise of getting New Delhi to engage with the Separatist Leadership, PDP has remained on mute mode as every single demand has been discarded by the Central Government with spectacular and brazen contempt. Our Chief Minister has tragically agreed to be the protagonist in this saga of silence and guilt”, the NC Working President said during his speech in the Legislative Assembly.
NC Working President reminded Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of her election speeches where she sought votes for PDP as votes that would invariably amount to votes against the BJP and asked her to go through the footage of those speeches to remember her exact words and realize why her Government and her party have become so unpopular today.
“Mehbooba Ji those speeches and their footage is available for you to watch them. You sought votes against BJP and said the people of this State would never find BJP to be an acceptable option and today you sit in the Government with them and watch in silence as they break one promise after another and have precious little to offer to your Government and this State”, the NC Working President added.
“You refused our offer of unconditional support to form the government citing the logic that an alliance with the BJP would be an alliance with the central government and this arrangement would in turn translate into New Delhi’s benevolence to the State and its people. Where is that benevolence today Mehbooba Ji? 80,000 crores that were being brandished are nowhere. If you have in fact received 80,000 crores as a cost of compromising on your ideology and your slogans, kindly distribute that money so that people wouldn’t suffer for lack of development, salaries and wages”, Omar further said.
NC Working President said the PDP-BJP ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ had become a joke at the expense of this State and its people and PDP had surrendered its voice so that it clings on to political power.
“After the demise of Late Mufti Sahab, you categorically stated that you wouldn’t be able to justify becoming the Chief Minister unless and until New Delhi approves some significant Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) for the State. For two months you engineered planned leaks through your spokespersons that these CBMs demands included the demands for the return of power projects, an increase in the flood relief and rehabilitation package, smart cities for J&K and a slew of other demands. Then one fine day you met the Prime Minister and said you were satisfied. A senior BJP leader who has very close ties with your party went on record to say that neither were any demands made by you nor did the Prime Minister accept any demands. You readily agreed to resume your alliance with the BJP on the previously existing terms and conditions and it was said that you met the Prime Minister and humbly received his ‘Ashirwaad’. Did you waste two months just to receive the Prime Minister’s ‘Ashirwaad’?”, the NC Working President stated.
“Your slogan of ‘Goli se nahi Boli se’ has become another cruel joke with the people of this State as your crackdown on separatist leaders is unprecedented. Who are you going to talk to or who will you ‘force’ New Delhi to talk to when you have bundled all separatist leaders in jail? Your party – as is its habit – has tried to market Modi Ji’s Pakistan visit as your achievement. If that’s the case, let me remind you that Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Sahib was categorically told by Prime Minister Modi in the Srinagar rally that his advice on Kashmir was unsolicited and not required. So we all know how much New Delhi consults you on Kashmir Issue or on the issue of engagement with Pakistan or Separatists. Like all your other slogans and promises – this one too has fallen flat on its face”, the NC Working President said in the Legislative Assembly.
NC Working President questioned the state government’s sincerity in preventing the extension of NEET to the State and said the Government had failed to protect and uphold the State’s special status. “Education falls in the State List as far as J&K is concerned and the present State Government intentionally mounted a half-hearted cosmetic effort to prevent the extension of NEET to J&K. They should have seen how the previous Government had objected to NEET and taken a cue from there but their covert, tacit understanding resulted in the special status of the State being by-passed. Had Raj Thackeray and Jayalalitha not objected to NEET and had the central government not come under pressure ahead of their GST bill, there would have been no ordinance and our students would have suffered enormously this year itself”, Omar Abdullah said.
“Similarly, the PDP-BJP Government hastily agreed to the extension of NFSA to J&K without considering its adverse impact on food security for hundreds and thousands of our citizens. The previous Government had objected to the extension of NFSA to J&K as it deprived a major chunk of our population of basic, adequate ration. Sadly, the PDP-BJP Government in a hurry to appease the Central Government extended NFSA to J&K and today our people are out on the roads crying for their right to ration”, the NC Working President said in his speech.
NC Working President lashed out at the Chief Minister for being a mute spectator as the state’s highest elected office is being sidelined to the status of a vestigial appendage by the central government. “The Central Government held a meeting in New Delhi to review crucial issues pertaining to J&K. In the first meeting the Governor was invited to represent the state and in the second meeting even the Governor wasn’t invited. Why do we have a Chief Minister when the Central Government doesn’t feel the need to take her on board on matters pertaining to the State? If the Chief Minister couldn’t attend these meetings, a Senior Minister should have been delegated to represent the elected Government of the State in these meetings. This blatant sidelining of the institution of Chief Minister and the bypassing of an elected Government is tragic. The Chief Minister’s silence on this contempt and humiliation is even more tragic”, Omar Abdullah added.
“The demand for the return of power projects has been rejected with great contempt by New Delhi. Forget about your broken promise of old power projects being returned – your Government has also failed to raise the issue of Ratle Power Project and Sawalakote Power Project to conceal your guilt. Had Sawalakote Power Project been in the State’s possession today, we would have increased our hydel power production by 1,200 MWs. The PDP-BJP Government’s lack of seriousness is demonstrated by its complete apathy on these critical issues. Repeated insults by the Central Government on the return of power projects seems to have become a norm and the same can be said about the Chief Minister’s and the State Government’s silent acceptance of this humiliation”, NC Working President said.
On the issue of the Sainik Colony, the NC Working President said his party had not objected to the idea of a Sainik Colony for State Subjects but had repeatedly sought the Government’s clarification on the issue. “Your Government has constantly contradicted itself on the Sainik Colony issue and your alliance partner has demanded that non-State subjects be allowed to settle in these proposed Sainik Colonies. There are orders of land allocation and identification from your Government and yet you have chosen to hide behind wild allegations and deflections. Show me one order where you can allege that the previous Government allocated land for the Sainik Colonies. This issue must have been a part of agenda of the concerned Board headed by the Governor but the previous Government, unlike you, never ordered the allocation of land without clearly and unambiguously ensuring that the State Subject laws are upheld. Because of your contradictions and because of the continued refusal of the Chief Minister to speak up when needed, there is a perception of constitutional sabotage and subterfuge”, Mr. Omar Abdullah added.
“Similarly the Chief Minister’s silence on the issue of exclusive townships for Pandit Migrants has resulted in a sense of apprehension and worry in the State. We cannot disagree about the need and urgency to rehabilitate and resettle Kashmiri Pandits back into the Valley but settling them in walled townships is a self-defeating exercise. Why not just rehabilitate them in the cantonments then? Their re-integrated into the society is imperative and isolating them from the society won’t serve any purpose but will further add to the alienation between various communities”, the NC Working President added.
NC Working President said the PDP-BJP Government has abandoned its promises of opening up additional trade and travel routes and has also abandoned the previous Government’s return and rehabilitation policy for those misguided youth who had crossed the Line of Control during years of turmoil in the State. “A lot of our young men returned from across the Line of Control through the Nepal route to come back to their homes and families. Not a single one of these individuals has taken part in any objectionable or militancy-related activities. Today your government has stopped this policy’s implementation. If you are indeed a well-wisher of the youth and want reconciliation within our society – it is your duty to get your alliance partner and the central government to open up the Nepal route to facilitate the return of our boys to their homes”, Omar Abdullah said.
“Your indecisiveness in governing this state is harming the state and affecting the people. You come out with an Industrial Policy and abandon it within two days without standing up for your proposal or even explaining what your intentions were with the particular policy. This is a Government that lacks conviction and stability”, Omar Abdullah said in his speech.
NC working president said the PDP-BJP government had allowed vested interests to malign and defame the J&K Police in the NIT issue where the Police was effectively replaced by the CRPF. “The Chief Minister refused to stand up for J&K Police – for those policemen who lay down their lives for the State and its people. You are responsible for their morale being dented and your tributes to martyred policemen today can’t change this fact. While it is imperative that non-resident students from outside the State are protected and warmly welcomed and hosted in the State, it is also imperative that our students studying in various parts of the State are safeguarded and protected as well. State government’s refusal to ensure their safety and sense of safety is condemnable to say the lease”, the NC Working President further said.
Highlighting the glaring development and governance deficit in the State, Omar Abdullah said there was no sign of governance in the State. “You talk of new roads and bridges but let me assure you there are no new roads and bridges in the constituencies of my colleagues or in my constituency. Whatever little macadamization we saw has stopped. What development do you talk about? You have been busy in cutting ribbons of projects started and at times even completed during the tenure of the previous Government. If you want to blame the previous Government on issues that you yourself have failed, you should also appreciate and praise the previous Government for these projects and developmental works”, the NC Working President added.
National Conference Working President lashed out at the State Government for mishandling the Handwara incident and said the Chief Minister was directly culpable and accountable for injustice and negligence as it was the Chairperson of the Women’s Commission who publicly stated that the Chief Minister was personally monitoring the case. “We get to hear different versions from the girl and from the security forces and the J&K Police. There is no clarity on the issue. A PDP Leader and adviser to the former Chief Minister added insult to injury by blaming the firing victims for committing suicide. This is the insensitivity and arrogance of this Government”, Omar said. NC Working President asked Mehbooba Mufti to take charge of her responsibilities and understand that opportunities to undo wrongs are limited. “I once sat in the chair that you sit in today and let me assure you time passes quickly. You have to take concrete measures to fulfill your promises and undo your wrongs”, Abdullah said. Omar Abdullah paid rich tributes to Former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and said his contributions and service in the field of politics was remarkable.
Congress MLA Nawang Rigzin Jora said there was nothing in the Governor’s Address which his party had boycotted. Targeting PDP-BJP alliance, he said “the soft separatist Mehbooba Mufti has been tamed by hardline Hindutva organisations. What has come out of it? A Sanghi sarkar.” He took a dig at Mehbooba, saying she would have to give up her green cloth (colour of PDP flag) and wave a saffron flag in the alliance with the BJP.