Mufti toughens stand on J&K Chief Ministership
18 October 2002
The Times of India
GANDERBAL\SRINAGAR\JAMMU: The People''s Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday hardened its stand on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir''s chief ministership. In his first rally after the Assembly elections in Ganderbal, PDP supremo Mufti Mohammed Sayeed said that the PDP would try to respect the people''s mandate and if it failed would continue with its agenda while sitting in the Opposition. In a veiled reference to the Congress, he said, ''All political parties, which want to align with us, should remember that the people''s mandate is in the PDP''s favour and their sentiments should be respected''. ''We have an agenda where we have to remove laws like Pota, release all political detenues and give more attention to the worsening law and order situation,'' he said. Appealing to militants to drop their guns, the Mufti said: ''I appeal to boys with guns to leave the path of violence as their voice will be raised by my party MLAs in the state Assembly.'' Earlier, accusing the Congress of stalling the formation of a new government, PDP vice- president Mehbooba Mufti said that it had created a situation where Jammu region and Kashmir Valley were perceived to be against each other. Claiming that a PDP chief minister would have provided a ''healing touch,'' Mehbooba said, ''The Congress should understand that it was the PDP which bagged 16 seats and marginalised NC to 28 seats, thereby ejecting them from the Valley.'' Asserting that the party was not being adamant, she claimed that people from all over the Valley had rung up party leaders to express their dislike for a Congress-led coalition in the state. She termed Governor''s Rule in the state as unfortunate but blamed it on the Congress'' adamant attitude and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah''s refusal to continue till alternative arrangements are made. She said talks with the Congress leaders would continue to find an amicable solution to the issue of leadership in the coalition government. Meanwhile, the National Conference on Friday said that it was ''greatly pained'' at the flak it was getting from some political parties over the Farooq Abdullah-led cabinet''s decision not to continue in office.