Govt, BJP dissociate with Mufti statement; Oppn walks out

New Delhi: 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.

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Pic/ PTI

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.

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