Jammu, Feb 2: Senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig today offered to resign from the Lok Sabha in the wake of attack over his statement on rehabilitation of West Pakistan refugees in Jammu and Kashmir and for favouring party’s alliance with BJP. He said he had written to PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, saying if his intentions are “suspected”, his letter of resignation from Parliament should be forwarded to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
“There has been a whisper campaign that I am pushing for an alliance between BJP and PDP because I would like to get some personal benefit out of it. “I have made it clear to both the BJP emissary as well as PDP leadership that I express my views without any desire or agenda to secure any political position,” said the former Deputy Chief Minister in a four-page statement here.
He said he had submitted a written communication to PDP patron Mufti Mohammed Sayeed “with the request that my letter of resignation from Parliament should be forwarded to the Speaker of Lok Sabha, if my intentions are ever suspected”. The lawyer-turned-politician referred to his remarks regarding the possibility of finding a middle path solution to the problem of settlement of Pakistani refugees who are settled along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu region.
“I received a call from a very responsible person today asking me the meaning and purpose of expressing my views at this critical juncture. I was told that National Conference and JKLF will take undue advantage of my statement and may probably launch an agitation against the proposed alliance between PDP and BJP,” he said. He wondered how any person could “misunderstand” his statement where he said that it was a “humanitarian problem” and “not a political problem” and that it should be considered “whether they can be granted the status of permanent residents of the state” if Jammu and Kashmir Constitution permits.
When asked to comment on Baig submitting his resignation, PDP spokesman Naeem Akhthar said, “please ask him. He alone can confirm it, not me”. With regard to the PDP-BJP alliance, Baig said he had publicly stated that it will “remain stable only if there is good faith agreement on political issues of the state contained in the CMP (common minimum programme).
He also went on to suggest that if the two parties cannot come to an agreement on fundamental issues which includes resolving Kashmir issue in a “democratic and Constitutional manner”, they should not form the government and go for fresh polls. “If PDP and BJP cannot agree on fundamental issues, then it is better to sit in the opposition or go back to the people rather than enter into a mere power sharing agreement, which will be seen by people and judged by history as an act of opportunism,” he said.
Being at the forefront of negotiations with BJP after the results were announced on December 23, Baig was snubbed after the PDP announced that only Naeem Akthar was authorised spokesperson for the party and his statement. In a veiled attack on party colleague Haseeb Drabu, who has been negotiating with BJP on government formation, he advised “…PDP should resist any request or pressure from any quarter, including the winners of the previous election, to form Government in any case.”
Soon after the results for 87-member Legislative assembly threw up a hung assembly on December 23, Baig had said the BJP was not “untouchable” and suggested that the PDP should consider an alliance with the national party for government formation. He was in constant touch with BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav immediately after the elections. However, today the Lok Sabha member from Baramulla feels that the alliance between the PDP and the BJP should be out of conviction and not compulsion.
“Mufti Sahab and Mehbooba Ji, who are the only two decision makers in the party, should forge such an alliance only out of conviction and not out of compulsion. “If they are convinced that such an alliance will be in the interests of the State, politically and economically, they should go ahead,” Baig said.
Emphasising the need to resolve the Kashmir issue, the PDP leader said “the political issues would necessarily involve an agreement on the process to resolve Kashmir issue in a democratic and constitutional manner through the process of dialogue.” “I have publicly stated that, in my view, PDP-BJP alliance will remain stable only if there is good faith agreement on political issues of the state contained in the common minimum programme,” he said.
“I have stated, at-least three times, that if Mufti Sahab and Mehbooba Ji are convinced that alliance with any other party, including congress, would be more beneficial to the State, they should be free to exercise that option,” he added. The PDP and the BJP — with 28 and 25 MLAs respectively — are engaged in back channel talks for government formation with sources in the two parties hinting that the political deadlock in the state might end within the next week.
The two parties have diametrically opposite stands on issues like settlement of West Pakistan Refugees in the state, repealing of Article 370 of the Constitution and revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act. PDP leadership should not underestimate the possibility that the opponents of PDP and the separatist elements might create trouble whenever they get an opportunity, he said and added “God and History will judge all of us by our deeds and not just by our words.”