Opposition slams Mehbooba govt, says it lacks vision, direction
The opposition parties on Friday slammed the state's PDP-BJP government in the Assembly, accusing it of lacking 'vision' and 'direction' and contending that the 16-months of its rule have been a time wasted.
Srinagar: The opposition parties on Friday slammed the state's PDP-BJP government in the Assembly, accusing it of lacking "vision" and "direction" and contending that the 16-months of its rule have been a time wasted.
Leading the attack was National Conference leader and former Chief Minister Omar Abullah, who contended that the Mehbooba Mufti government had failed to defend the special status of Jammu and Kashmir before the Supreme Court when NEET was extended to the state.
He questioned the government over its various promises and said no progress was to be seen on revocation of AFSPA or having internal dialogue or restoring the regional balance.
"The 16-months of this government has been wasted as there is nothing to show for in terms of promises made by the twoparties in their 'Agenda of Alliance'," Omar said while speaking on the Motion of Thanks to the Governor's Address.
He said the Governor's Address had a "superficial mention" of corruption-free and development-oriented governance.
"This is nothing new and perhaps there has been no government which has not spoken about these issues. The truth is that there is no vision or direction in this government because this government was formed under compulsion," he said.
Omar said the Chief Minister has made many flip flops on various issues and it was likely that doubts will persist about her decision making.
"In the past 16 months, you have not stuck to one line. In the elections, you sought votes on the plank that you wanted to stop BJP (from coming to power) as Omar Abdullah is an old sinner who might join hands with BJP again as he was part of the Vajpayee government at centre.
"After the election, you were hoping that a lot will be achieved by aligning with BJP and entered into an Agenda of Alliance but so far no progress is to be seen on revocation of AFSPA, internal dialogue or restoring the regional balance," he told Mehbooba, the leader of PDP.
He recalled that she had sought Confidence Building Measures from the Centre before forming the government in the wake of death of her father and then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
"Your spokespersons went to media saying that you want assurances on AFSPA and return of power projects to the state. You met the Prime Minister and emerged satisfied enough to form the government. So far there is no clarity what assurances you got from the Prime Minister. We want to know," the former Chief Minister said to Mehbooba.
Omar also recalled that BJP general secretary Ram Madhav had told the media that Mehbooba had not sought any assurances but only blessings of the Prime Minister.
"If you only wanted blessings, you would have got it on day one. What was the two months' wait for," he asked her,
referring to the time taken by her to decide on continuing alliance with BJP after Sayeed's death on 7 January.
Omar said since assuming power in April, Mehbooba-led government has been making mistake after mistake and every situation has been mishandled.
The NC leader raised the issue of Handwara where a girl was allegedly molested last month, saying her security had been compromised by the release of her video and the police also has been villified due to this case.
He said the same happened in NIT issue where the police was replaced by CRPF for security at the controversy-struck institute last month.
"It is the police which protect us and put their lives on the line. You have to protect the police if they are right and take action if anyone is wrong," he said.
Omar said while the Governor's address reiterated government's commitment to protect the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, it had failed to defend the status before the Supreme Court when NEET was extended to the state.
"Jammu and Kashmir is the only state where medical education is in the State List, not in the Concurrent List like other states. But you failed in stopping NEET as it was not applicable to our state. It is a direct attack on our special status," he said.
Omar said while he was criticised by PDP for detaining separatists during his tenure, the ruling party now was following the same practice. "Where is the battle of ideas you spoke of," the former Chief Minister asked Mehbooba.
He said while returning of power projects and revocation of AFSPA was part of the ruling coalition's Agenda, the central government led by BJP has rejected both the demands.
Referring to the return of Kashmiri Pandits and reported establishment of Sainik Colonies in Kashmir, Omar said there is "no clarity" on these. "We are not against these but the government needs to clear its stand. It cannot blame every thing on the previous government," he said.
According to Omar, the Prime Minister "on Thursday said as soon as the land is made available the colony for Kashmiri pandits will be set up". He then said, "are you providing the land? We are for return of Kashmiri pandits, Muslim and Sikh migrants but we don't want a Jagti like camp in Kashmir."
He said Kashmiri Pandits should return to the places from where they had left. "If that is not possible, let them live in the towns," he added.
He also raised the issue of AIIMS hospital, smart cities, IIT and IIM. "Land has been identified for AIIMS in Jammu but not in Kashmir. Jammu got an IIT and there was not a murmur against it in Kashmir. However, if an IIM or smart city is sanctioned for Srinagar, there will be rucks in Jammu," he said asking where is the promise of bridging the regional gap.
Omar also said there was no development work undertaken by the government when it had an opportunity to improve on that front by spending the Rs 80,000 crore PM's package.
He promised support to the government in its initiatives for restoring peace and ensuring development in the state.
"I am not the opposition leader who will set the state on fire in pursuit of power. In the interest of the state, if you need my support, you will not find me lacking," he said.
Congress MLA Nawang Rigzin Jora said there was nothing in the Governor's Address which his party had boycotted.
Targeting PDP-BJP alliance, he said "the soft separatist Mehbooba Mufti has been tamed by hardline Hindutva organisations. What has come out of it? A Sanghi sarkar."
He took a dig at Mehbooba, saying she would have to give up her green cloth (colour of PDP flag) and wave a saffron flag in the alliance with the BJP.
News18 quoted sources privy to the developments as saying that the region will be granted statehood soon as promised in the past by the Centre, however, there will be no talks on restoring its special constitutional position
Although killings of terrorists have also been high — 174 ethnic-Kashmiri jihadists were shot last year, up from just 34 in 2016 — levels of violence remain higher than in the five years before the 2016 uprising, data from the South Asia Terrorism Portal shows
While the Centre focussed on development and Jammu and Kashmir getting its own elected government, all leaders from J&K demanded full-fledged statehood for the region