Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti ruled out on Wednesday an alliance with the BJP to form a government in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the party was trying to divide the state along communal and ethnic lines.
Mehbooba, who has been leading a strident campaign against what she calls the “misrule” of the Omar Abdullah government, told HT in an interview the high voter turnout in the assembly polls was a sign of people’s anger with the National Conference (NC) and Congress.
Analysts say the PDP is likely to emerge as the single-largest party in the state, but may need to look for a partner to form a government, sparking speculation it will be forced to join hands with the BJP that is trying to expand its base to the Muslim-majority Valley.
“We would not like to take the BJP’s support. The people have understood that the only way out of the BJP’s divisive agenda is to give full support to the PDP,” Mehbooba said. “They are not only trying to divide us communally, but along ethnic lines by looking at Sikh, Pandit, Gujjar and Shia vote banks. Ultimately it will get polarised along the lines of Muslim Kashmir and Hindu India and that is very, very, dangerous.”
“It is very unfortunate that the BJP is trying to find its feet in the state and it has all become possible because of the misrule and corruption of the Omar Abdullah government,” she added.
The Omar Abdullah government is facing a massive anti-incumbency wave, after the state's worst floods in a century that killed hundreds and forced thousands of people from their homes.
It has also been under fire for alleged corruption, with the Prime Minister also taking a jibe at both the NC and PDP, saying dynastic parties had looted the state for years.
The PDP president dismissed the allegations, daring the Prime Minister to prove them or apologise. She also said unlike the Abdullah family — Sheikh, Farooq and Omar Abdullah — the PDP was in power for a short time.
“The Sheikh family has ruled for 45 years and my father, Mufti Sayeed, for only three,” she said. “My father has worked harder than Modi to establish a democratic system in J-K. As for looting, I cannot speak on behalf of the Sheikh family but let me tell Modi today that as Prime Minister he should set up a commission. If indicted, I am ready to go to jail or Modi should be ready to apologise.”
Mehbooba said the high voter turnout did not indicate that people had rejected the separatists, but that they wanted a strong government to take the political process forward.
“The people have not become stooges just because they have voted. They have voted to get rid of the NC and the Congress and we will be the bridge between India and Pakistan and take the political process forward,” she said.