J&K's ruling party makes rival PDP’s ‘understanding’ with Modi main electoral issue

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 21 April 2014 | 08.20

SRINAGAR: The BJP has token presence in Kashmir, where it is better known for its strident opposition to Jammu & Kashmir's cherished special status. Yet its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, appears to loom large over the Lok Sabha election campaign here even as there are no physical signs of it. The ruling National Conference (NC) has made its arch foe People's Democratic Party (PDP)'s ambivalence towards Modi and 'communal forces' a major and acrimonious election issue.

The NC sharpened its attack on the PDP since Mehbooba Mufti declared her party was ready to work with the BJP. Her reference to 'strong leadership of a national party' at the helm in New Delhi would be 'good for Kashmir' was construed as her approval for Modi.

A month later, she was more categorical and hoped Modi 'would follow in the footsteps of ex-PM Atal Bihar Vajpayee' and questioned whether anyone resigned after the Muzaffarnagar or the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. This along with her criticism of the NC's ally, the Congress, for its failure to pass the anti-communal violence bill was seen as the BJP leader's another endorsement. "He (Modi) has stated that he would pursue Vajpayee's policy on Kashmir. That is a welcome sign.''

Chief minister Omar Abdullah and his father, Farooq Abdullah, have since made the alleged BJP-PDP understanding the centrepiece of their campaign. They have been highlighting the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, BJP's Hindutva agenda, Modi's refusal to implement minority scholarship programmes etc. to corner the PDP.

This is seen as an attempt to divert attention from their government's dismal performance on governance and conflict resolutions fronts besides countering goodwill Vaypayee appears to enjoy here due to his conciliatory policies. This is contrasted with the Congress-NC alliance's failure to capitalize on them. The militant violence may have been almost negligible but Kashmir continues to be a tinderbox as more people have been killed in security forces firings on unarmed protesters since 2009.

Omar, who continued to be a minister in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance despite the 2002 pogrom, described Mehbooba and her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, as 'Amit Shahs' of Modi in the state at a rally last week. He called Modi 'godfather of Muftis' at a separate rally in Shangus on Sunday in his continuing focus on their alleged nexus, which he has maintained is aimed at dividing 'the society on communal lines'.

"The PDP is an open supporter of the BJP and wants Modi to be the Prime Minister despite his communal record and open animosity towards the people of Jammu and Kashmir,'' he said at a rally in the Muftis stronghold of Anantnag.

Omar maintained voting in favour of the PDP is akin to supporting Modi. "The Muftis owe their political existence to the BJP and it founded the PDP, '' he said. He reminded the people about the 'stigma Modi carries'. "He has not even expressed regret for the innocent killings in Gujarat.''

In Srinagar, Farooq Abdullah cautioned people against the PDP's 'machinations to strengthen 'Modi's communal hands'. "Every vote cast against the NC-Congress candidates would be a direct endorsement of Modi and would strengthen his nefarious plans,'' he said. "PDP is hand in glove with the BJP and is working tirelessly to make Modi the prime minister.''
The father-son duo virtually echoed similar rhetoric at their rallies in Kokernag and Chadoora in sorth and central Kashmir on Monday.


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