The Peoples Democratic Party welcomed on Thursday Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks that the PDP-BJP coalition in Jammu and Kashmir had the potential to resolve one of India's most difficult national problems, saying the government will usher new opportunities of development and employment.
"The PDP is highly appreciative of the kind words used by the PM and are hopeful the coalition will set new standards of resolution of problems faced by the people of Kashmir for a long time and provide a sense of honour and dignity to all the citizens of the state," party spokesman Nayeem Akhtar said.
The coalition ran into rough weather from the start after chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed credited Pakistan and separatists for a smooth election, minutes after his swearing-in ceremony. The parties further clashed over the release of Hurriyat hardliner Masarat Alam, with the BJP protesting against what it said was an anti-national move.
In an exclusive interview to HT on Wednesday, Modi had called controversies surrounding the government "teething problems", saying the coalition had the potential to resolve the Kashmir problem through people's participation and good governance.
"We need to have patience. I myself and my party have made our stand very clear that any lenience towards anti-national elements and terrorists will not be acceptable. The alliance in Jammu and Kashmir is one of the most important developments on the contemporary political scene,'' the PM has said.
The two ideologically-diverse parties share a tense relationship with widely-differing stances on Article 370 that gives special status to the state and the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which accords sweeping powers to the military.
"The PDP believes no leniency should be given to anti-national elements but we have always stated that for the resolution of Kashmir, all stakeholders have to be on board,'' Akhtar added.
The party also said it was hopeful the government will usher new opportunities of development and employment in the state. "We want the PM's personal interest in these areas. He should ensure a sense of equality, dignity and participation to all the people of the state, including those who are living outside the state,'' he said.