Opposition in Lok Sabha today lambasted Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed for giving credit to Pakistan, Hurriyat and militants with the smooth conduct of elections in the state, forcing the government and the BJP to “fully disassociate” themselves with the controversial statement.
During Zero Hour, an angry Opposition also demanded a resolution to be adopted by the House condemning the statement of Sayeed at a press conference in Jammu yesterday, soon after he took oath of office and secrecy.
The furore saw Home Minister Rajnath Singh asserting that “the government and his party (BJP) fully disassociate” themselves from the remarks made by Sayeed.
Dissatisfied with Singh’s response, almost the entire Opposition staged a walkout.
Raising the issue, K C Venugopal (Cong) said “this is a serious issue” as he quoted Sayeed as saying that he had also had a word with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard.
He said Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh of BJP was sitting next to the Chief Minister, but had given no clarification.
Venugopal said militants killed six village sarpanchs and mounted suicide attacks on Army units. “This cannot be called creating a conducive atmosphere,” he said, adding that the credit for smooth conduct of elections should be given to the people of the state, the Election Commission and security personnel.
“The Prime Minister’s silence is shocking…the House should condemn it. We should pass a resolution,” he said.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he wanted to make it clear that “the government and his party (BJP) fully disassociate themselves” from the remarks made by Sayeed.
Not impressed, the Opposition was on its feet demanding a statement by the Prime Minister.
Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge said since the Prime Minister was told by Sayeed that he feels that the credit should go to Hurriyat, militants and Pakistan for smooth conduct of J and K assembly polls, Modi should make a statement. “Only PM can explain,” he said.
At this, Rajnath Singh said he has spoken to the Prime Minister in this regard and was making the statement with his knowledge and consent.
Later he also made it clear that Sayeed had not spoken about this statement with the Prime Minister.
“For the smooth conduct of polls, I congratulate the people of J and K. I credit the EC, the Army and personnel of paramilitary forces…the people have to be ctredited for the large voter turnout,” Singh said.
Not satisfied, the opposition staged a walkout demanding that a resolution condemning Sayeed’s remarks be adopted in the House.
Oppn furore in Rajya Sabha over Mufti’s statement on J-K polls
Opposition in Rajya Sabha today created a furore over Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s statement crediting Pakistan and Hurriyat for the smooth assembly polls, with the Centre jumping to do damage control by saying security forces and the people were responsible for the peaceful polls.
Congress calling Sayeed’s statement “anti-national”, Shantaram Naik (Cong) said immediately after being sworn-in, Chief addressed a press conference where he credited “people from across the border”, separatist Hurriyat Conference and militants for the peaceful assembly elections.
Raising the issue during zero hour, Naik said “this statement is bordering anti-national… this is violative of oath of office as he is showing allegiance to forces which are anti-national”.
The people of Jammu & Kashmir, Election Commission and security forces made the elections possible and Sayeed did not give credit to them, he said.
Among the 24 ministers sworn-in, one of them’s brother is in Hurriyat and has a Pakistani wife, he alleged.
He said Modi had during the election campaign called for discussion on Article 370 and quoted the Prime Minister as having said then “Kam se kam charcha to karo (at least discuss the issue)” but is now evading it.
Responding to the attack, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the credit for peaceful conduct of Lok Sabha elections in May last year and then the assembly polls “goes to the wonderful people of Jammu and Kashmir, Leh and Kargil, the Election Commission and security forces.”
The enthusiastic participation of the people in these elections as well as the security forces and the poll panel “are responsible for the peaceful conduct of elections. We congratulate them”, he said.
At one point when Kharge’s microphone was put off as he was speaking, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav expressed his displeaure with the Speaker over the opposition leader not being allowed to have his say.
Kharge said if Sayeed had said the elections went off well due to the militants, he needed to be taught a lesson.
Opposition leaders wanted the resolution also to hail the efforts of the Army, paramilitary forces, Election Commission in conducting the free and fair polls and the participation of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in it.