“Broke alliance with PDP as Mehbooba tried to scare us on Panchayat polls”
RAJ DALUJAJAMMU: Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on Friday said that India would not have suffered terror for decades and lost thousands of soldiers, had strong steps been taken when Kashmiri Pandits were driven out of the Kashmir Valley. “That time, politics got in the way, vote bank got in the way”, Prime Minister said in an exclusive interview to Times Now news channel. The Prime Minister cautioned that the situation like exodus of 1980s Kashmiri Hindus would occur given the violence in West Bengal. “The way Bengal is moving towards violence, the way those who perpetrate this are being shielded, the state is moving in the direction in which Kashmir moved in 1980s when Hindus were forced to flee. In Bengal, this is the start of such an incident and it must be looked at seriously”, he added. Modi said that if there is neutrality in media left, then they should definitely compare two states. In J&K that is often in news for terror attacks, panchayat polls were held in every village, thousands of candidates were elected but there was not a single incident of violence. Even, in Lok Sabha elections there was no violent incident in J&K. In Bengal, panchayat polls happened and several people were killed. A BJP worker was hanged to death but media didn’t discuss that, he said. On the alliance with PDP, Narendra Modi said the results in Jammu and Kashmir had thrown a fractured mandate. “We had won the maximum number of seats but we were not in position to form the government. We did not even stake claim for it. We thought that the PDP-NC will form a minimum common programme and form a government in the state in the interest of people and we will play the role of the opposition. For months, the state was under Governor’s rule. There was no progress. After that Mufti Sayeed thought that something needs to be done. So he made a proposal. That day we said it publicly that we are polar opposites and our ideologies do not concur – We had told the country about it, nothing was hidden from anyone. We thought that we would go ahead keeping the development projects of the state in mind. We came up with a minimum programme and went ahead with it”, he said. The Prime Minister added that till the time Mufti Sayeed was there, developmental projects were given a priority. Construction of roads, schools and hospitals picked pace. “We too felt that if we could keep the other issues aside and focus on these issues, work for the common people should not halt. Unfortunately, he passed away. Mehboobaji came to power. She was in a dilemma of sorts. Governor’s rule was imposed, as she did not want to return to power. We went along with it. We thought that if Governor’s rule is imposed there is going to be another kind of resistance across the nation. The house remained in suspended animation. Mehboobaji agreed after a couple of months. We went ahead with it again”. Referring to the conduct of Panchayat elections in J&K, Modi said, “We believed that if the state has to progress it was imperative to give some powers to the panchayats. They will have to be given funds directly from the Centre. We would have to trust them with the responsibility of carrying out development work at their level. She was unwilling to give in. She said it would lead to violence and bloodshed, there will be thousands of candidates and they would not be able to provide security cover to them, more than 5000 people will be martyred. She was trying to scare us”. He added, “The decision was pending for over three cabinet meetings. In the end we said that they can go ahead with what they want and we would go our way. So we left the alliance, that too without any argument. You saw we were right. President’s rule was imposed in the state. We organised Panchayat elections, there was 70-80 percent voting, panchayats swung back into action. Funds from the Central government are going directly to the Panchayats. Their needs are being looked after. We had said the same thing when we formed the alliance- that we are like oil and water- we had said back then too and I agree to that fact that such mahamilawat (alliances) don’t last very long. It was the need of the hour and we went ahead with it”.
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