BJP says top separatist's release not in alliance agenda with PDP, such moves won't be tolerated

  • Agencies, Jammu/Srinagar
  • Updated: Mar 08, 2015 20:57 IST

Strains showed up on Sunday in the week-old PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir over the release of hardline separatist leader Masarat Alam, with the saffron party slamming the "unilateral" decision and warning that such things would not be tolerated.

The BJP said the decision was not a part of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) on the basis of which the alliance government was being run in the state. The PDP, however, differed, insisting that the move was in tune with the CMP.

State BJP chief and MP Jugal Kishore Sharma said his party was not even consulted before the decision was taken. Senior state BJP leaders met on Sunday to discuss the issue, he said, adding his party would convey its "displeasure" to the PDP leadership and ask it to follow the "coalition dharma".

The BJP has taken "very seriously" the "unilateral" decision of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and the party is "deeply hurt", he said about the release of the hardline separatist leader which has kicked up a major controversy.

He said Sayeed did not take its coalition partner BJP into confidence before taking the decision to release Alam. "We had no prior information or knowledge on his release. This is not our decision and we had not given our consent on this," he told reporters.

"We are not going to tolerate any such statement or any such decision which is not as per the Common Minimum Programme that we had agreed upon. We have decided to convey our displeasure to our partner so that such things do not happen in future," he said.

He underlined that the issue did not figure in the CMP.

PDP spokesman and education minister Naeem Akhtar, on the other hand, said the decision was in line with the CMP which talked about engaging all stakeholders for establishing peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

"This (the release of Alam) has to be seen in proper perspective. It is an important part of our Common Minimum Programme to involve all stakeholders in the state, and across the Line of Control, for reconciliation and peace in the state," Akhtar said.

"If you want to have a dialogue with all stakeholders, which includes these leaders, you cannot engage them by keeping them in jail without anything substantial against them," he added.

CM Sayeed will need more than over 50 years of experience as a mature politician to keep the ruling PDP-BJP alliance on an even keel as controversies rattle the coalition even before it starts delivering on promises of peace and development.

The very first media conference Mufti Sayeed addressed after taking over as the chief minister last Sunday in winter capital Jammu rocked Parliament over his remarks that gave credit to Pakistan, the separatist Hurriyat and militants for the smooth conduct of the state assembly elections.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh had to make a statement in the Lok Sabha contradicting Sayeed's statement. Rajnath Singh said the credit for the successful and fair conduct of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections went to the country's Election Commission, the army, the paramilitary forces and, above all, the people of the state.

Sayeed's daughter and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti defended her father's statement saying Sayeed was not like his arch rival, National Conference patron, Farooq Abdullah, who Mehbooba said had specialised in the art of self-denial.

The problem for Sayeed and his party is that not all those he calls 'political prisoners' are considered to be so by his ruling alliance partners in the BJP, at both the state and central levels.

Sayeed is trying to keep his Valley-centric political constituency intact by ordering the release of political prisoners and also trying to prove that an alliance with the BJP could be far more Valley friendly than his adversaries want the people to believe.

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