Following over two months of silence, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti finally opened up about her plans of forming a government with the BJP, saying she wasn't afraid of criticism, but first wants the Centre to send out a "signal" that it would do everything it can for the welfare of the state.
On Saturday, Mufti met J&K governor NN Vohra for an hour and discussed "political issues" and "various challenges" faced by the state, which has been under Governor's Rule since January 8.
She also invoked her late father Mufti Sayeed who had partnered the BJP. She said he had "not joined hands with BJP as a party but it was a coalition between the central government and the people of Jammu and Kashmir" with an aim of benefitting the people of the state.
"For us, the decision taken by my father.., if that aim and that aspiration is fulfilled then I am not afraid if people blame me for going with BJP, whether they feel good or bad. If people are benefitted then there is no issue," Mehbooba said while launching party's membership drive. "When it came to the benefit of people, my father did not care about the party. He rose above everything and joined hands with BJP for the welfare of the people."
Insisting that she was not an "adamant" lady, she said her party leaders want the formation of the government but she will do that when she feels that the bigger aim is fulfilled.
"They should send a signal that they will do everything for the welfare of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. India is a huge country, its treasures would not run empty," Mehbooba said.
"If at any time I feel that they (Centre) have space in their hearts for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, then I will not have any hesitation in becoming chief minister of the state. There is a framework which we have made and they should be ready to put colours in that framework."
Mehbooba, whose party has 27 MLAs in the 87-member Assembly, said, "If the promises are not fulfilled and the formation of the government is only to keep away elections for another five years, then I am not ready (to become chief minister)," Mufti said.
PDP, along with the 25-member BJP, ran a coalition government headed by Mufti Sayeed for 10 months before the sudden demise of the then chief minister on January 7.