Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday disapproved of Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's statement that Pakistan, Hurriyat and militants created a conducive atmosphere for elections in the trouble-torn state, breaking his silence on an issue that has driven a wedge between the coalition partners.
"If somebody makes such a statement, we can never support it," Modi said in Rajya Sabha, as members demanded the PM's response to the controversial remarks made by Sayeed soon after he was sworn in on Sunday.
The PDP patron stood by his statement but it caused uproar with the Opposition walking out of Parliament and the government distancing itself from the remark, crediting the election commission, army, paramilitary forces and the people for the safe polls.
"If somebody makes a statement somewhere and we are forced to respond here, things will not work," Modi, who was present at Sayeed's swearing in, told the Upper House.
A day after Sayeed’s comment, differences between the alliance partners burst out in the open after group of PDP MLAs demanded the Centre hand over the remains of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru to his family.
The PM asserted that his government "will move ahead with the policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism" and "all resolutions passed here (in Parliament) will be implemented in letter and spirit".
Modi added the credit for the successful elections in J-K went to the people who "removed doubts" in the international community by turning up in large numbers with "overwhelming courage and pride" and "put their stamp of approval on what India had been saying all along".
On questions by some members whether the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will pull out of the coalition government in J-K over the issue, Modi said the state government will run only on the basis of Common Minimum Programme (CMP).
"I want to assure this House and 125 crore people of the country that the government formed in Jammu and Kashmir is based on the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) and the government will run on its basis," he said, while replying to the Motion of Thanks to the President's address.
The PDP-BJP coalition marks the first time the saffron party is in power in the Muslim-majority state but the ideologically-divergent parties have been dogged by controversies from the word go.
A two-month-long negotiation over formation of a coalition government in J-K culminated with the swearing in ceremony of Sayeed, who took oath as part of a 25-member cabinet with members from the People's Democratic Party and the BJP. While Mufti would be chief minister for the entire six-year tenure, BJP's Nirmal Singh will be the deputy chief minister.
The firming of a power sharing alliance between two diametrically opposite ideologies - Sayeed called the alliance as coming together of North Pole and South Pole - was a tough task for leaders of both the parties. It would be equally challenging for them to keep it going for a full six-year term.
Talks between the two parties had centered on areas where they ideologically disagreed and the issues featuring in the CMP are: Article 370, which accords J-K a special status, and the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act that gives overriding powers to security forces.