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PDP hits back at Shiv Sena, says wrong to question Sayeed's credentials
Saturday March 7, 2015 10:41 PM, IANS

Objecting to the Shiv Sena's criticism of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed for praising militants and Pakistan over the assembly polls, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Saturday said it was wrong to question his credentials.

Sayeed after being sworn in as chief minister had credited Pakistan, militants and separatists for the smooth conduct of the state assembly polls.

On Saturday morning, the Shiv Sena in a statement said Sayeed's assertion crediting Pakistan, separatist leaders and militants for helping in the election followed by a statement by his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) about the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, is tantamount to treason.

The PDP said that an attempt was being made to make a mountain out of a molehill.

"What Mufti Sahib said was that the separatist leaders and the militants had not done anything serious that could have come in the way of the people's massive participation in those elections," Naeem Akhtar, senior PDP minister and party's chief spokesman told IANS.

"He never intended to undermine the role of the election commission or the security forces during those elections. Why should someone try to make a mountain out of a mole hill?"

"The secular and nationalist credentials of a person who has been the country's only Muslim home minister and a mainstream politician for over 50 years should not have been questioned merely because he firmly believes the democracy of our country has space for divergent viewpoints to be heard," Akhtar added.

Rangil Singh, another senior PDP leader, said, "Talking to Pakistan is essential for peace between the two countries and the biggest benefit of that peace will naturally go to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

"It is unfortunate that the Shiv Sena should have used such language about a national level leader like Mufti Sahib. We condemn the statement."

The National Conference (NC) opted to distance itself from the controversy.

NC spokesperson Junaid Azam Mattoo told IANS, "We have no reaction to offer. It is a matter between two members of the same family that is the BJP and the PDP."

The Congress state unit, however, agreed with the Shiv Sena over the chief minister's criticism.

Ravinder Sharma, Congress legislator and spokesman said, "We have already strongly condemned Mufti Sayeed's statement which is intended to appease separatists. We agree with what the Shiv Sena has said in reaction to Mufti's statement."

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, opted to distance itself from the Shiv Sena's statement.

Nirmal Kamal, spokesperson of the BJP told IANS, "The BJP has nothing to do with the Shiv Sena statement. The BJP never uses such language as the Shiv Sena has done.

"We and the PDP are working according to the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) and we will pursue that. There would be no deviation from the CMP during the coalition rule in the state."

Some residents in Jammu and Srinagar said the coalition needed to address the basic issues concerning the livelihood and prosperity of the people.

"We are not interested in what political allies or rivals say in favour or against each other. The coalition government will be judged by its performance and not by statements and slogans," said Sansar Chand, 40, a resident of Jammu.

Sajad Ahmad, 45, a resident of Srinagar, said: "The Shiv Sena has only shown its narrow-mindedness and microscopic understanding of things. How can permanent peace come to Jammu and Kashmir unless everybody contributes towards that?

"Mufti Sayeed will have to work hard to convince the ideological allies of the BJP that Kashmir needs a different treatment," he added.

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