PDP-BJP Government May Not Finish Term In Jammu & Kashmir: Muzaffar Hussain Baig

28 June 2015
The Economic Times
Hakeem Irfan

Srinagar: Senior People's Democratic Party leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig has cast doubts upon the longevity of the PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, telling ET in an exclusive interview that Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayed is feeling 'let down and caged' and the government is unlikely to complete its term unless it makes a course correction. Baig's comments come less than four months after PDP patron Syed assumed office after stitching an unlikely alliance with the BJP. Baig, a former No. 2 in the party, is among the senior PDP leaders that have been sidelined in the current dispensation. When asked whether the government will complete six years, Baig said, 'I don't think it will. But it can complete six years if it adopts some corrective measures. After all, a man is not dead till he is dead. If God forbid, this experiment fails, it will be a cruel joke on the people of Jammu and Kashmir.' Baig, a former deputy chief minister who currently represents Baramulla in the Lok Sabha, also attacked finance minister Haseeb Drabu, without naming him, for his 'unnecessary, provocative statements and giving false dreams to people of Jammu and Kashmir'. The first PDP leader to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi before the declaration of assembly election results and hint at the alliance with the BJP, Baig expressed strong reservations about the agenda of alliance document. He said it was not only 'ambiguous and unclear' but also without any signatures. 'Mufti sahib asked me for some suggestions on certain issues. I suggested a few things but probably he forgot. Maybe he is too worried or feels let down. Maybe he feels betrayed or even caged (by people around him),' Baig said, in a conversation at his residence in Srinagar. In Kashmir, Baig said, BJP is equated with RSS and RSS is equated with communalism. 'So, therefore, there is a greater burden for this government to discharge. It requires greater sensitivity, commitment and tact on both sides,' he said. Baig said he had, on Sayed's advice, prepared a working document for PDP-BJP coalition in December, 2014 - before the agenda of alliance was drafted - but that document was never given to the BJP. According to him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sayed should have met directly to make the alliance more workable. He even claimed that Modi was not apprised about the developmental and relief requirements of the state, mentioned in the agenda. 'If agenda of alliance was agreed upon, why has it not been acted upon?' he said. Taking a dig at Drabu, he said, 'As former finance minister, I can tell you that we need extra funds as we lag behind in many socio-economic factors. I am not the kind of person, who will say I won't go to Delhi with a begging bowl. That is an unnecessary provocation and counterproductive statement (by Drabu).' The Harvard-educated lawyer had even tendered resignation to Chief Minister Sayed after a series of provocative statements on the coalition government but it was not accepted.