Modi Can Take Bold Initiatives: Mirwaiz

Modi Can Take Bold Initiatives: Mirwaiz

21 March 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: The Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M), Mirwaiz Omar Farooq hopes that if Narendra Modi becomes Prime Minister, he will try to fit in the shoes of former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and take some bold initiatives on Kashmir. The separatist leader said that Vajpayee during his tenure as Prime Minister asked the people of India to change their traditional mindset and shed the beaten track to address the Kashmir issue outside Indian constitution and within the 'ambit of humanity '. 'In this context, he initiated a dialogue with Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership', said Mirwaiz. Mirwaiz told Excelsior: 'May be it is going to be blessing in disguise in a sense that if BJP comes to power, you may see more initiative, more gestures towards Kashmir and towards Pakistan.' The separatist leaders said that in long term politics there is a realization among BJP leadership, whether Advani's trip to Pakistan and his views on Jinnah and approach of Vajpayee. 'I think Narendra Modi does want to fit in some where there and he wants to come out of that communal tag which he has. I am sure you will see some initiatives on his part to reach out to people of Kashmir as well. I think he started it with his speech in Jammu.' Mirwaiz said that people in Kashmir are watching with interest the internal politics of BJP. 'There is a feeling that Narendra Modi is trying to have a balanced approach in terms of dealing with Kashmir', he said. Omar said: 'Many people believe if BJP does not get numbers then Advani is going to be consensus candidate. Last time Hurriyat had talks with New Delhi under Advani's leadership. I think Advani has better understanding of things.' The separatist leader said: 'I think under Modi or Advani, we will see some movement forward on Kashmir and Pakistan. And there is also new Government in Pakistan and Nawaz Sharif is also trying to move forward.' Mirwaiz said that UPA failed to reach out to the people of Kashmir. 'UPA had its chances to reach out to people of Kashmir. You had Manmon Mohan Singh as Prime Minister, he could have done a lot. Unfortunately, he failed to reach out to people of Kashmir. They looked at Kashmir from electoral alliance with National Conference', he added. 'I think Congress has failed in terms of dealing with Kashmir. BJP clearly takes the credit of having peace talks with Pakistan with Vajpayee historic trips to Pakistan', said the separatist leader. Mirwaiz said that on one hand BJP talks of abrogation of Article 370 and on the other hand you had Vajpayee and Advani who despite what their party was saying were guiding parties for re-conciliation. While making comparisons between Vajpayee and Modi, Omar said: 'I think Modi is not Vajpayee. It is going to take some time if he comes to power. Although, he is trying to change his image because of his coming to national politics, he has to sound diplomatic, he will have to be accommodative in his approach.' Mirwaiz said that whatever significant developments have taken place on Kashmir for past 10-15 years are because of the efforts of BJP leadership especially Vajpayee. 'I think, it will be huge challenge for the BJP if they come to power, to deal with Kashmir', he said. 'I feel their policy is going to change. They are going to have a balanced approach in terms of dealing with the problem in Kashmir. I feel there is also a feeling among the people of Kashmir that you need a Hindu fundamentalist party in power for any possible solution on Kashmir', said Omar adding: 'If they (BJP) go for any bold initiative on Kashmir or go for any compromise, people will not raise finger at them as compared to Congress and others.' The separatist leader said: 'I think for past 5-6 years Congress's Kashmir policy has come under lot of criticism. If there is a hardline Government with BJP in power, we expect them to reach out to Kashmiris. They have to come out of looking at Kashmir through electoral politics. I think, if BJP comes to power with Modi as PM, he has to deal with Kashmir.' Omar said BJP is better in terms of dealing with problems as compared to Congress. 'They will like to shun the image that it is a party that is capable of dividing people on communal lines, doing politics of hate and politics of religion. They are also able to deliver whether it is in terms of economic development of India and reaching out to people of Kashmir and dealing with Pakistan', he added