Mehbooba plays regional card to make a comeback

Mehbooba plays regional card to make a comeback
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Afaq Bhat
Srinagar, Dec 9: Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and the President of Peoples Democratic Party Mehbooba Mufti has triggered a row by demanding divisional status for Pir Panchal and Chenab Valley areas in Jammu region.
Her assertion triggered a sharp reaction from the hardliners in Jammu. “Many people in the Jammu region are of the opinion that Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Poonch and other districts are an integral part of the Jammu region which have equal population of Hindus and Muslims,” an analyst told Precious Kashmir.
Soon after Mehbooba demanded divisional status for Pir Panchal and Chenab Valley National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah seconded her and stated that if his party is voted to power it would grant autonomy to all regions of the state.
A Kashmir watcher said that PDP and NC speaking in somewhat similar language has created panic among the hardliners in Jammu region who are out to crush the mainstream leadership in Kashmir. “These elements want to label NC and PDP as separatists and want to project new faces who could help their cause in the Valley. The another factor which is troubling the rightwing elements is that if NC and PDP join hands it could upset their dream of ruling Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, adding, “The hardliners have foiled the first attempt of NC and PDP to come together and rule the state but if these parties cross 44 plus mark in the forthcoming Assembly elections then they could cause a major upset.”
A BJP leader, who wished not to be named, said, “Centre would never allow Kashmir centric parties to rule J&K as it cannot trust the Kashmiri legislators. If they get a chance they can pass any resolution in the Assembly which could prove detrimental for the interests of the country.”
He said, “PDP and NC are trying to divide the state on the religious lines by staking their claims on the areas where the population of a particular community is on the higher side.”
A politician ridiculed the claim of the BJP leader. “It’s strange that BJP is talking about NC and PDP trying to polarize the environment in the state. The BJP should introspect and see how they have been playing politics over the religious issues during all these years. They are the ones who have encouraged other politicians to play the religious card,” the politician claimed.
An observer said, “PDP has realized that it has got nothing to sell as its decision to join hands with the BJP proved to be a disaster and the party has lost its credibility. Even the PDP leaders know it very well that their rule was dismal and they failed to live upto the expectations of the masses. Now they are trying to take refuge in the issues which could help them reemerge on the political arena of the state.”