Coalition survives for now…
PDP appreciates BJP’s support; BJP vows to allay PDP’s fears
BJP sends resignations of its 2 ministers to CM
Srinagar/Jammu, Apr 11: A day after cracks in the alliance between PDP and BJP seemingly appeared pulling their coalition government apart, the former on Saturday climbed down from the rhetorical anger mountain to indicate continuation of their partnership, even as senior leaders of both sides appreciated each-other.
Works Minister and senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Naeem Ahkar on Saturday “appreciated” the support of alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Asifa gangrape-and-murder case.
Speaking to reporters after the party’s meeting called in Srinagar to discuss the three years of alliance with the BJP and Asifa case, Akhtar said that they appreciate the support of the BJP, PM Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah in Asifa case.
“We appreciate our alliance partner who helped us in this case…they made the two ministers resign in the case. I see that as a confidence building measure. And if PDP and BJP continue to resolve their issues like this, I see there is no substitute to this alliance,” he said.
Meanwhile in Jammu, senior BJP leader Ram Madhav said the resignations of two BJP ministers, who are in the eye of the storm for attending a rally of a fringe group ‘Hindu Ekta Manch’ supporting those accused of raping and killing the minor girl in Kathua, will be handed over to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for further action.
Madhav conceded that the resignation of the ministers was to address the “fears” of not only its ally PDP and the people of Jammu and Kashmir “but also the entire nation” — indicating that the resignations will be accepted and the two ministers actually sacked.
Madhav flew to Jammu this morning and held consultations with senior party leaders as well as MLAs and MLCs to discuss the situation in the State.
Immediately after the meeting, Madhav told reporters that the resignations of the two ministers — Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga — would be handed over to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for further action.
The senior BJP leader admitted that the two ministers displayed lack of discretion by taking part in the rally, but made it clear that there was no attempt to sabotage the investigations as charged by the Congress party.
“The charge that the two ministers were pro-rapist is absolutely wrong. It was sheer indiscretion on their part,” he said.
“However, after this, there was concern in the entire country about the ghastly crime committed on the little girl…Therefore, keeping in mind the perception and general situation, the two BJP leaders, after holding consultations with the prime minister and other senior leaders of the party, decided to submit their resignations,” Madhav told reporters.
He rejected reports that there was any pressure from his alliance partner PDP for withdrawal of the two ministers. “No pressure, no ultimatum. This is all your figment of imagination,” Madhav said in his reply to a query from a reporter that the PDP had threatened to walk out of the alliance if the two ministers did not resign.
Asked whether a dent has been created in the alliance after the Kathua rape-and-murder issue, Madhav said, “As far as this case is concerned, we have done our bit by allaying the fears and misconception created in the minds of people of Jammu and Kashmir but also in the entire country by asking our two ministers to resign. Beyond that I don’t think there will be any impact of this incident or these developments on the coalition.”
“Rest for the ‘baayan bazi’ (making statements) we have been receiving in last couple of days, we will wait for the PDP to take a view on that and convey what is the view of the leadership. Right now I am talking about Kathua rape incident,” he said.
He cautioned that there should be no communal politics played over the ghastly crime and everyone should ensure speedy justice and exemplary punishment to the culprits.
He accused the Congress party of playing double standards. “In Jammu, the Congress leaders are casting aspersion over the probe and their senior leaders were creating law and order situation through Bar Council,” he alleged.
“Certain amount of discretion should have been maintained. Certainly, there was a lack of discretion. Sometimes lack of discretion does not tantamount of any guilt…that has led to certain misconceptions about them (two ministers) also, so they decided they will quit as ministers,” Madhav responded when he was asked about a pointed question that the two ministers had termed the action of the Crime Branch as “jungle raj” and warned police from arresting anyone.
On the plea for a CBI probe saying the investigations have been completed in three months and a charge-sheet has been submitted in the court. “It is up to the court now to decide.”
Madhav, who was the pointsman for the BJP in forging the alliance with PDP, said the two ministers had been sent to Kathua to pacify the people who were agitated after the incident. However, there was some amount of indiscretion on the part of the ministers for which they had to resign, he said.
To a question that the two ministers had participated in the rally in support of the accused in the rape case where the national tricolour was being used, Madhav said, “That is why they had to resign. During my visit last month here, I made it clear to everyone that in this matter no one speaks and let us allow the investigations to complete.”
Pertinently, Ganga and Singh besides participating in the rally in support of the accused had also hit out at the police for arresting “one or the other person at will” in connection with the rape and killing of the 8-year-old girl in January this year.
Asking why the probe was not being handed over to the CBI, Lal Singh had said, “We too want that the real accused be punished… We have heard you. We will not allow this jungle raj, under which they (police) are picking up people at will, to continue. What kind of investigation are they doing?”
The ‘Hindu Ekta Manch’, from which the BJP distanced itself, had taken out a rally holding a tricolour to press for their demand.
The incident and use of national flag had evoked sharp reaction from Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
“Appalled by the marches and protests in defence of the recently apprehended rapist in Kathua. Also horrified by their use of our national flag in these demonstrations, this is nothing short of desecration. The accused has been arrested and the law will follow its course,” she had tweeted.
In Srinagar, just ahead of the PDP’s meeting today, party spokesperson Dr Mehboob Beig hinted softening of postures when upon being asked about Ganga and Lal Singh’s participation in Hindu Ekta Manch protest. said “whatsoever, it should not be personalized as CM has already clarified that holding protest with tricolor in hand is uncalled for.”
Just before attending PDP’s high-level meeting at CM’s Gupkar Residence here, Beig asserted that “justice will be done with the minor victim under the leadership of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who has been assuring that the case will be taken to its logical conclusion.”
He also lauded the role of Crime Branch saying investigation is going on in free and fair manner and hoped that eight years old nomad girl will get justice.
“Investigation is going on in free and fair manner. We will do justice with Asifa. Holding (today’s) meeting is a routine affair as CM has been calling us on and off to discuss some relevant issues,” Beig added.