Defending the PDP-BJP alliance, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday said Jammu & Kashmir has not “emotionally integrated” with India.
Replying to the discussion on Motion of Thanks on the Governor’s Address in the Legislative Assembly, the Chief Minister said, “Nobody can deny the fact that we have technically integrated with India, but have not emotionally integrated (with India).”
She said Article 370 is not a hurdle in the emotional integration, but a bridge between India and J&K.
“The Constitution of India is so accommodative that we can accommodate aspirations of the people of Pakistan administered Kashmir (as well),” she said.
She said that PDP joined hands with BJP to “respect the mandate of Jammu region as well as to take J&K out of the prevailing situation.”
“My father could have formed Government within 24 hours but his mission was not to attain power. We shook hands with BJP to respect the mandate of Jammu region as it emerged as the largest party in the region.”
“You cannot shut eyes to the fact that Narendra Modi Ji has an overwhelming mandate of the people of India and Mufti Sahab believed that he should join hands with the force which has courage to take bold steps (on Kashmir).”
Responding to NC’s criticism on allying with BJP, the CM said: “You (NC) accused Congress of betrayal in 1953 (for arresting Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah), but you joined hands with it in 1975.”
Accusing Congress of doing nothing for 10 years (for resolution of Kashmir issue), Mehbooba Mufti said the BJP-led Governments under Atal Bihari Vajaypee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi made serious efforts for improving relations with Pakistan.
“We should not forget that Narendra Modi Ji visited Pakistan last year but that was followed by Pathankot (attack). He is also answerable to opposition in New Delhi. Vajaypee Ji visited Pakistan but that was followed by Kargil war,” she said.
The CM sought cooperation of political forces in New Delhi and the State opposition for implementation of the Agenda of Alliance and recommendations made by the Working Groups “to take J&K out of uncertainty.”
Asking for bridging mistrust among political forces in the State, the CM said: “We need to allay the fears of each other on the issues on which we have stated positions.”
“BJP feels that abrogation of Article 370 will resolve Kashmir issue but our view is different on the issue. We have to make BJP understand that Article 370 is not a roadblock in the integration.”
Seeking support of New Delhi and J&K opposition, the CM said the Agenda of Alliance already contains what has been agreed upon by all the political parties in the State in Round Table Conferences and the recommendations of various Working Groups.
“We don’t have to invent a new wheel”, she said.
The Chief Minister said she has consistently believed to make Jammu & Kashmir a bridge of faith between India and Pakistan as history and geography cannot be divorced from the present status of these two neighboring countries.
“I am hopeful that the present phase of relations between the two countries would finally give way to an era of cooperation and amity,” she said.
On the issue of rehabilitation of Pandits, refugees and other “victims of history,” the Chief Minister said we have to settle these smaller issues to unbundle the bigger knot in the State.
“The communities and regions have to be brought closer, remove the fears about each other and then only can the State move ahead looking for solutions to its problems,” the CM said.