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HindustanTimes Mon,24 Nov 2014

World

NC-Cong rigged J&K polls hand in hand, says Mufti
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, November 17, 2013
First Published: 22:27 IST(17/11/2013)
Last Updated: 00:35 IST(18/11/2013)

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Sunday accused the National Conference (NC) and Congress of rigging assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir whenever they fought the hustings as allies.

Citing the 1987 assembly elections, she said the poll results were manipulated to benefit the NC-Congress alliance.

“What happened after that everybody knows. We are still feeling the impact of those elections…It strengthened the feeling that Kashmir is being managed from New Delhi,” Mufti said during an interaction with journalists in New Delhi.

Mufti, daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and former Union home minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, is the leader of the opposition in Jammu and Kashmir.

The NC is the ruling party in the state led by chief minister Omar Abdullah.

There is a general perception that the alleged rigging of 1987 assembly elections was one of the factors that led to the rise of militancy in Kashmir. Hizbul Mujahidden chief Syed Salah-ud-din had contested the elections as a candidate of the erstwhile Muslim United Front (MUF), a conglomerate of various outfits.

Mufti’s serious charge indicates apprehensions in the PDP camp that the next year’s Lok Sabha and assembly elections will not be “free and fair” in view of recent reports suggesting that the NC and the Congress might contest the polls in alliance.

Mufti, however, praised former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his efforts to restore peace and normalcy in the state and also for his bold steps in engaging with Pakistan despite the setback of the Kargil war in 1999.

“Vajpayeeji spoke the language of Kashmiris. He personally ensured that 2002 elections were free and fair,” she said. The PDP formed the government in J&K in 2002 in coalition with the Congress.

She, however, categorically ruled out any support to BJP’s Narendra Modi in case the NDA comes to power at the Centre in 2014 general elections.

“Modi is seen as anti-secular. This is the general sentiment and we would like to respect those sentiments. There is no question of going with BJP or NDA,” Mufti said.

Her comments came against the backdrop of Omar Abdullah claiming that she has held “secret meetings” with BJP leaders for a possible tie-up between PDP and the saffron party.


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