Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti should resign if the agenda of alliance, the guiding framework of Jammu and Kashmir’s ruling coalition, is not implemented within a time frame, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) parliamentarian Muzaffar Hussain Baig suggested on Thursday.
His comments came after a row that he had asked Mufti to resign for her “failure to implement the agenda of alliance”. He said he was misquoted.
“Those who drafted the agenda should decide on a time schedule for its implementation and if it does not get implemented within that time frame, the only honourable way for Mehbooba would be to resign,” Baig said on Thursday.
The senior PDP leader, however, clarified “things will not get implemented in a week, but will take time”.
The agenda was worked out after a fractured mandate in the 2014 polls forced the PDP and BJP to team up, despite ideological differences, and form a government in the strife-torn state. Chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed ruled the state based on this framework and it stayed on when his daughter took over after his death this January.
Baig, a former deputy chief minister, said circumstances didn’t allow the PDP-BJP government enough time to implement the agenda.
“For six months, the BJP was busy with elections in other states, then Mufti sahib’s health deteriorated and he passed away. Mehbooba was unsure about its implementation and so took time to form the government,” he said.
But “within two months of coming to power, Burhan Wani’s killing happened, leaving no room for that work”. He insisted that “these are not excuses but our defence”.
Hizbul Mujahideen commander Wani’s killing on July 8 plunged the state into public unrest, which still continues even after the death of over 70 people in clashes with security forces.
Baig blamed “wrong signals” coming from the Centre for the aggravating situation in Kashmir.
“They are talking about abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A. There is a PIL against Article 370 and the person who filed the PIL has been rewarded, made an administrator in Lakshadweep,” he said.
He was of the view that the Centre, which has taken a tough stand against the Kashmiri separatist leadership, should engage with the Hurriyat as well as Pakistan. “This will surely take time, but efforts have to be made.”
His remarks were in line with chief minister Mufti’s invitation to the separatist leadership for talks with a 26-member political team that was in Srinagar on Sunday to find a way to end the unrest.
She sent the invitation as the PDP head, not as chief minister. “She didn’t want to give an impression of being a superior, she had written the letter as head of the largest political party in the Valley and as an equal,” Baig said.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh, who led the all-party delegation, had distanced himself from attempts of the chief minister to persuade the separatists for talks.