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Mufti sharing dais with PM triggers a row

india Updated: Oct 31, 2009 19:13 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

Presence of the state Opposition leader and People’s Democratic Party (PDP)patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed on the dais at the inauguration ceremony of the Qazigund-Anantnag railway line has triggered a row in Srinagar.

The question who had invited the former chief minister and former Union home minister to the function has put the National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at loggerheads.

On October 28, a function was held at Anantnag to flag off the Qazigund-Anantnag railway line. The dais at the function was shared by Prime Minister Mamohan Singh, Union Railway Minister Mamata Baneerji, UPA chairman Sonia Gandhi, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Union minister for Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah and PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.

Later, in a television debate, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Mufti had desired to come to the event and then I invited him.

This has piqued the opposition party. “The statement of the chief minister is childish. Did he (Mufti) request the chief minister and sought an invitation?” asked PDP chief spokesman Nayeem Akhtar. “Mufti sahib is not a run-of-the-mill politician. He was a national leader and Union minister and worked even with Mrs Gandhi.”

The PDP claimed Mufti was invited both by the Union Railway Minister Mamata Baneerji and Prime Minister’s Office.

“The Prime Minster had also desired to have Mufti in his entourage from the Srinagar airport itself,” said Akhtar.

The PDP chief spokesman claimed that it was not a state function but a function organised by the Union railway ministry.

On the day, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed was also taken in two-helicopter entourage from Srinagar to Anantnag, which was carrying the prime minister and other union ministers.

What apparently has unnerved the chief minister is cozying up of the PDP and the Congress. The relation between the two hit its lowest when the PDP pulled out of the Congress-PDP coalition in the backdrop of the Amarnath land row. The sharing of dais by Mufti and the Prime Minister is being seen as a thaw in the relation between the two political parties.

Farooq Abdullah failing to mention the name of Mufti Sahib in his address was also taken notice of by political pundits.