Calling the results of the Jammu and Kashmir local polls “very encouraging”, former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said today that she would not contest any election until special status was restored under Article 370.
“When it comes to assembly polls, I will not fight any elections until and unless Jammu and Kashmir’s own constitution is brought back, until Article 370 is restored,” Mehbooba Mufti told NDTV.
The former Chief Minister was responding to a question on the Gupkar alliance, which includes National Conference and Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and the potential tussle – if state polls were to be held — over a Chief Ministerial candidate amid intense rivalries.
We have been rivals but for the larger cause of J&K we can all get together. We are Kashmiris at the end of the day. We are not talking only about elections but for the larger cause of restoring what was lost,” Ms Mufti said.
“Whenever assembly polls are held we will sit together and discuss (on Chief Ministership). I am not in the race,” she said.
Ms Mufti also defended her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s decision to partner with the BJP in an alliance that collapsed before time.
“My father made a deal with the devil. Mufti did not join hands with (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi but with the Prime Minister of India, to resolve the problems of Kashmir. My father tried to engage the BJP through an alliance. Our agenda was the same and we entered into the alliance on our terms. They agreed to everything, but after the government fell, they did what they wanted,” said Ms Mufti.
The Gupkar alliance won big in the first-ever District Development Council (DDC) polls across 20 districts in J&K, the first election in the region since the centre ended special status in August last year, turned the state into two Union Territories and detained scores of political leaders, including Ms Mufti and National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah.
The seven-party alliance, along with the Congress, has won in 13 districts. The BJP has won in six districts in Jammu.
“This is like a referendum on the scrapping of Article 370, and the BJP themselves kept harping on the subject during campaigning. So the result shows that the people of J&K have rejected that narrative. They have thereby rejected scrapping of Article 370,” said Ms Mufti, who was freed in August after more than a year in detention.
“We will appeal against the Centre’s move on Article 370 till our last breath,” she added.