Sayeed’s remarks cause uproar; Congress attacks, BJP dissociates

New Delhi/Jammu (IANS): Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s controversial remarks giving credit to militants and Pakistan for the smooth conduct of elections caused a political uproar on Monday. The Congress demanded a parliamentary resolution while the government and the BJP dissociated themselves from the comment. Sayeed and his party PDP, however, stood by the remarks.

The Congress raised the issue vociferously both inside and outside parliament and also posed questions to the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is part of the alliance government in Jammu and Kashmir.

Congress members in the Lok Sabha insisted on a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who attended Sayeed’s oath-taking function in Jammu on Sunday.

The Congress and some other opposition parties later staged a walkout from the house.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha: “The government and the party fully dissociates themselves from the remarks.”

The minister, who faced repeated interruptions, said he had come to the house after talking to the prime minister.

“What I am saying, I am saying with deliberation and with the consent of the prime minister,” Rajnath Singh said.

He said the assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir were held in a conducive atmosphere.

“I want to give credit for this to the Election Commission, the armed forces and the paramilitary forces,” he said.

The home minister said there had been no secret talks between the prime minister and the chief minister and no contentious issue was discussed.

The issue also figured in the Rajya Sabha, with Congress member Shantaram Naik saying Sayeed’s remarks had hurt feelings in the country.

“The chief minister made a statement which was most controversial and hurt the nation,” Naik said amid slogans of “shame, shame”.

Sayeed had ruffled many a feather by saying at his media conference on Sunday that if Pakistan, Hurriyat and militants tried to disrupt elections in the state late last year, there would not have been good participation.

“If god forbid, the Hurriyat and the militants tried to disrupt the elections, these would not have been as participative as they had been,” he had said.

Referring to Pakistan, Sayeed had said: “They (Pakistan) also allowed these elections to take place.”

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the government should bring a resolution.

“He (Sayeed) will know that the entire house is against his remarks. It (smooth elections) happened because of the people of the state, the government servants, but they are saying it happened due to Pakistan.

“The prime minister should come and condemn the remarks. What has the chief minister told the prime minister?” Kharge said.

Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav also sought a statement from Modi.

Sayeed told reporters in Jammu that he stood by his comments and those raising a hue and cry over it were trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

Referring to Pakistan and the Hurriyat, Sayeed said they have recognised that the voter slip is the destiny of the people, not bullets or grenades.

“This voter slip has been given to us by the Constitution of India. The people of the state have more faith in this,” he said, adding that there had not been interference from elements who had been doing so in the past polls.

Sayeed’s daughter and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti said her father was not a person who makes a remark and later denies having made it.

“If the separatists have not gone from door to door telling people to boycott those elections, we should acknowledge that,” she said.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, meanwhile, took a dig at PDP leaders.

“Has Mufti decided the Modi-Mufti accord was a mistake? Are the father-daughter duo trying to force BJP to break off the alliance?” he tweeted.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad also demanded an explanation from the central government over Sayeed’s remarks.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala addressed a press conference and posed questions to the BJP about Sayeed’s remarks and its stance on article 370 and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.