Srinagar, Aug 11: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday expressed doubts over his successor Mehbooba Mufti’s announcement that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured her on protecting the Constitution’s Article 35A which empowers the state legislature to declare permanent residents of the state and their privileges.
After her meeting with Modi in New Delhi on Friday, Mehbooba Mufti had told reporters the Prime Minister had assured her that Article 35A would be protected to preserve the special status of J&K.
In response, Abdullah said: “What she said is immaterial. What matters is what the PM said. That’s the only part of this meeting that matters at all.”
In another comment on his widely followed Twitter handle, he said: “Excuse us if we no longer believe what MehboobaMufti says after she comes out from these meetings. Can PMOIndia explain ‘assurances’ pls?”
Mehbooba Mufti had rushed to New Delhi on Thursday after a series of meeting with opposition leaders in the state including Abdullah’s father and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and chief of state Congress G.A. Mir to discuss ways and means to protect Article 35A that has been challenged by an NGO through a petition in the Supreme Court.
She had met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday.
Meanwhile, NC Spokesperson also reminded Mehbooba Mufti of a similar alleged “assurance” she lied about on the crucial issue of GST extension to the State. “You lied to the people about similar assurances about GST and eventually ended up decimating the State’s Fiscal and Political Autonomy by disempowering the State Legislature and Government completely and irrevocably in matters of taxation. The Chief Minister has lost all credibility due to such repeated ploys and deceptions aimed to mislead the people of the State”, the NC Spokesperson further added.
“Just as recently as yesterday has an Official BJP Spokesperson for J&K reiterated his party’s commitment to abrogate the State’s Special Status. Another senior BJP leader has termed Mehbooba Mufti’s statements as ‘premature’, while yet another Central BJP leader has termed Mehbooba Mufti’s remarks as ‘unfortunate’. While we admire Mehbooba Ji’s insult-proof nature despite repeated humiliation by the BJP, there is much more at stake here than her chair and this opportunistic nexus of a Government. It is primarily because of PDP’s Faustian bargain and alliance with the BJP that the State’s Special Status seems to be in serious peril today. Rather than enacting these theatrical performances – she should confess to her sellout and quit without any further delay”, the NC Spokesperson said.
The NC Spokesperson also ridiculed Mehbooba Mufti’s elaborate pretence of evolving a consensus on Article 35A and asked the Chief Minister why she chose to be dismissive of repeated red-flags and reminders by National Conference that her alliance partner was working systematically and seriously to use the judicial route to launch an unprecedented assault on Article 35A and Article 370 through unknown NGOs affiliated with the Sangh Parivar? “Since two years we kept asking PDP to wake up from its power-induced slumber and rise to the occasion and realise how it was risking the future of the State because of its own self-seeking interests. Our repeated reminders and suggestions were met with rank irresponsibility and shocking lack of seriousness by the Chief Minister, the Law Minister and her Government. Today we are in this situation because of Mehbooba Mufti’s and PDP’s complicity in this sinister plan to rob us of our political identity and rights”, the NC Spokesperson added.
The NC Spokesperson lashed out at Mehbooba Mufti and her Government for deliberately choosing an inadequate and irresponsible legal defence in the face of this serious challenge to Article 35A. “The Chief Minister should be ashamed that the Supreme Court ridiculed the quality of the response filed by the State Government in another matter pertaining to the issue of minority rights and status within the State. The PDP-BJP Government has made a laughing stock out of the State in the Supreme Court and has repeatedly demonstrated rank incompetence and unprofessionalism in dealing with such serious legal matters. Till today she has failed to fix responsibility for these failures and continues to mislead the people”, the NC Spokesperson added.
“We hope Mehbooba Mufti answers these specific questions about the nature of these alleged ‘assurances’ from the Prime Minister rather than deflecting and diverting attention through irrelevant and redundant rhetoric. The people of the State deserve answers – not Mehbooba Ji’s theatrical performances. This remains to be a very sensitive and crucial issue”, the NC Spokesperson further stated.