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Desperate Mehbooba finds way to garner votes in Kashmir, corners desperate Abdullahs
Visiting terrorists' houses for votes
1/10/2019 11:17:14 PM
Early Times Report
Jammu, Jan 10: Abandoned by several senior party colleagues, including former ministers and law-makers belonging to one particular religious sect, in the run-up to the elections in 2019, PDP Chief and former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti has once again started making round trips to the residences of terrorists to prevent what she call "harassment of their families at the hands of security forces". At least 7 top party leaders have dumped her during the past 40 days. Some have joined the Sajad Lone's People's Conference and some could join the NC convinced that the PDP is a gone case. Reports from Srinagar also suggest that one more former cabinet minister and senior PDP leader Altaf Bukhari could join the NC. Shocked by the events, Mehbooba Mufti has termed as "garbage" those who left her.
Mehbooba Mufti may say anything but the fact remains that she is a worried lot. She knows that she had to adopt a line that is radical and that arouses religious passions and hurts the NC leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah the most. Fear of political demise and political expediency are guiding all her actions. This seems to be the correct assessment.
Mehbooba Mufti has perhaps realized that the only way to regain the ground lost in the Valley is to identify herself and her party with terrorists and slain terrorists' families, attack the Indian state and the Indian Army and establish that she, not the Abdullahs, is their true representative and the true champion of the Kashmiri cause.
In her heydays, she built her party's image by applying "healing touch" to the militants' families and making inroads in South Kashmir districts. She was quite successful. Now as her party is struggling to stay relevant in Kashmir politics, she has once again decided to redraw her party's strategy. That strategy had paid dividends in 2002, when the PDP won 15 seats and formed coalition government with the Congress, the NCP, the CPI-M and the People's Democratic Forum. In 2008 and 2014 as well, the PDP, which was founded only in 1999, performed well in Kashmir. In fact, it hurt the NC to the extent that the NC could win only 28 seats each in 2008 and 2014. The PDp remained in power between Nov 2002 and Nov 2005 and between March 1, 2015 and June 19, 2018.
Only recently, Mehbooba Mufti visited residences of two terrorists and met their family members who alleged that "local police authorities were harassing them in the name of investigations". Her desperate and "emotive" move adversely impacted new-found bonhomie between her and NC vice-president and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
The relations turned sour to the extent Omar Abdullah even accused her of "using dead militants to try to appease voters." "The architect of 'Operation All-out' and the overseer of the operations that killed hundreds of militants since 2015 is now going from one militant home to the next trying to rehabilitate a badly damaged reputation," Omar Abdullah said.
"She used militants by sanctioning their deaths to appease the BJP and now she uses dead militants to try to appease the voter. Just how gullible does she think people are?" Omar Abdullah also added.
Both Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah are desperate for power. Omar Abdullah feels Mehbooba has become unpopular because of her alliance with the BJP and it's the right time to strike and capture the government. Mehbooba Mufti also knows that things have gone out of her hands and hence, she has to tread a radical path. And the result of competition between Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah will growth of radical politics in the Valley and further marginalization of pro-India forces in Jammu and Ladakh.
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