Mehbooba Mufti defends Sayeed's remarks on Pakistan

Jammu: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said she stood by the remarks made by her father and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed who gave credit to separatist leaders, militants and Pakistan for the smooth conduct of the assembly election.

Mufti Muhammad SayeedJammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed with deputy CM Nirmal Singh speaking to the media in Jammu on Sunday. Pic/PTI 

Reacting to the criticism against her father's remarks made Sunday during a media conference in winter capital Jammu immediately after taking over as the chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti told reporters: "I stand by the remarks made by Mufti Sahib. He is 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."

Sayeed had ruffled many a feather especially among his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruling ally by telling his first media conference that had Pakistan, Hurriyat and the militants tried to disrupt elections in the state 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," Sayeed had told the media here.

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

The chief minister's remarks were seen in poor light especially by the BJP, since these remarks, according to Sayeed's critics, amount to depriving the election commission and the security forces of the credit they deserve for the smooth conduct of the poll process in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sayeed's remarks also attracted criticism from former state chief minister, Omar Abdullah and the leader of the Congress party in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad who demanded an explanation from the central government over these remarks.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reacted to Sayeed's statement in the Lok Sabha on Monday, asserting that the credit for the smooth conduct of the election goes to the Election Commission of India, the security forces and the people of the state.

Rajnath Singh said the BJP government and the party dissociate themselves from the remarks made by Sayeed.

Singh said he was making the statement after talking to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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