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Friday, February 6, 2015

#SaradhaKashmirLink: According to some official and political sources, while investigating a trail of the Saradha chit fund scam afresh, CBI was likely to explore why the group chairman Sudipto Sen had gone only to Jammu and Kashmir for hiding in April 2013. Was a top IAS officer and the recently dumped Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami and any other IAS/ IPS officers of J&K cadre in touch with the fugitive? Did he also stay at an IAS office's farmhouse at Bajalta or his in-law's hotel in Jammu and a guesthouse in Udhampur? Did any of thre J&K bureaucrats, senior Police officials or politicians collaborate in Sen's hiding?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

J&K Rajya Sabha elections: BJP seeking 3 MLAs' abstaining to engineer Azad's defeat


Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


JAMMU, Feb 4: With just two days left to the February 7th election on the four Rajya Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir, BJP is working hard to ensure the Congress candidate Ghulam Nabi Azad's defeat, leading to the victory of all four candidates of the BJP-PDP alliance.

Authintmail learned from well-placed political sources on Wednesday that rather than seeking vote from the independent members, the BJP strategists were attempting abstaining of three particular MLAs from the voting. Surprisingly and significantly, one of the three legislators is a Congress MLA from North Kashmir who is believed to have secretly met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi over a month back. Sources disclosed that the three MLAs---one each from Kupwara, Bandipore and Budgam districts---were being persuaded by the top BJP leadership through certain contacts to abstain from the voting.

One of the three MLAs, according to the sources, had made it clear to the BJP that he would have no hesitation to cast his vote openly in favour of the BJP candidate even if it leads to his disqualification under the State's anti-defection law. However, he was later advised that instead of risking his membership he should simply remain absent on account of being "ill".

If the three MLAs do not turn up for voting on Saturday, total votes of the Congress-NC combine would reduce to 27 (NC 15 + Congress 11 + CPM 01 = 27) against the BJP-PDP alliance's 57 (BJP 25 + independent MLA from Udhampur and BJP rebel Pawan Gupta + Peoples Conference 02 + PDP 28 + Independent MLA from Zanskar Aga Baqir).

The BJP-PDP combine would poll all 57 votes in favour of the alliance candidate----PDP's Mir Fayaz Ahmad---on the first single seat notified vide notification number 101. The Congress-NC alliance candidate---NC's Sajjad Ahmad Kichloo---would bag total of 27 votes.

Similarly, on the second single seat notified vide notification number 102, the BJP-PDP alliance would poll all 57 votes for the coalition candidate---BJP's Shamsher Singh Manhas---while as the Congress-NC candidate---NC's Nasir Aslam Wani---would get total of 27 seats. Thus both these straight contest seats would go to the BJP-PDP alliance, one each to BJP and PDP.

Crucial contest

As regards the crucial contest on the two seats notified vide notification number 103, the BJP-PDP alliance would have to reserve 29 votes for the PDP candidate Nazir Ahmad Laway (PDP's 28 plus Aga Baqir) and 28 votes for BJP's Chander Mohan Sharma (BJP's 25 + PC's 02 + Pawan Gupta). These two candidates (PDP's Nazir Ahmad Laway and BJP's Chander Mohan Sharma) would be declared as winners for getting 29 and 28 votes respectively.

If this tactic runs smoothly, Mr Azad would poll maximum of 27 votes and lose.

0ut of the seven independent candidates, PC's two MLAs of Handwara (Sajjad Gani Lone) and Kupwara Bashir Ahmad Dar) besides the BJP rebel and MLA of Udhampur (Pawan Gupta) are now clearly on the BJP side and the Zanskar MLA (Aga Baqir) has lately joined the PDP, the CPM MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami has already declared his support to Mr Azad.

Authintmail contacted both of the still non-aligned MLAs, namely Hakeem Mohammad Yasin (MLA Khansahib) and Engineer Sheikh Abdul Rashid (MLA Langet) to learn about their decision.

"I have not yet taken any decision (whether to vote for the BJP-PDP candidates or the Congress-NC candidates or to abstain). But rest assured that we three (Mr Yasin, Mr Tarigami and Mr Rashid) will take a collective decision by Friday", Mr Yasin said.

When reached on phone, on his way from Srinagar to Jammu, Mr Rashid admitted he was part of a front with Mr Yasin and Mr Tarigami but the CPM leader, he pointed out, had already announced his support to the Congress-NC candidate Mr Azad. He said that this forced him to issue a statement that he would not support the Congress or the BJP candidates. "I have taken a hard stand against the BJP on many ideological issues and also against the Congress over Afzal Guru's execution. I will have to apply my mind and conscience before taking the final decision", Mr Rashid said.

However, the situation will change in case Mr Yasin goes with Mr Tarigami to the Congress candidate. In that case, Mr Azad and Mr Sharma would get 28 each and the tie would have to be broken by draw of lots. But if the unnamed Congress MLA does not abstain and Mr Tarigami along with Mr Yasin vote for Congress, Mr Azad and Mr Laway would get 29 each and become winners on seat number 3 and 4. That would mean two seats to PDP and one each to BJP and Congress. "Since there are high stakes, a lot would happen behind the curtain. There are already rumours that Rs 5 crore was being offered to each of the two or three candidates whose vote could tilt the balance", said a political source.

Congress has high stakes on Mr Azad's victory as after the defeat of most of its leaders in the Lok Sabha elections of 2014, he is the party's face in the Parliament and Leader of Opposition, holding the status of a union Cabinet Minister, in Rajya Sabha. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Mr Azad was defeated on Udhampur-Doda seat by BJP's debutant Dr Jitendra Singh who was subsequently inducted as Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office. 


Monday, February 2, 2015

AG Noorani's critique on PDP-BJP alliance for government formation in J&K causes a storm in Mufti Sayeed's party

Muzaffar Baig snubbed on GK interview about Pak refugees, asks Muftis not to suspect his intentions.

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Feb 1: Celebrated constitutional expert A.G. Noorani's two-part critique on crystallisation of the PDP-BJP alliance for the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, as carried by Greater Kashmir on January 29 and 30, followed by the Member of Parliament and a legal luminary Muzaffar Hussain Baig's significant softness towards the BJP's efforts of granting the State Subject rights to the West Pakistan Hindu refugees settled in Jammu, has led to a dramatic discomfiture in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

A member of the Mufti family is understood to have called Mr Baig on telephone and snubbed him for "providing tools to NC and JKLF", who reportedly have been trying to cause a turmoil over the issue of granting State Subject rights when PDP and BJP were grappling with a host of internal compatibility problems before forging an alliance for the government formation. In a damage control exercise, PDP's only authorised spokesperson Naeem Akhtar dismissed Mr Baig's views as "personal". He said it was Assembly and not Baig, a former Deputy Chief Minister, which would take a call on the issue of the Pakistani refugees.

Finding himself on a receiving end from varied corners, Mr Baig on Sunday night issued a lengthy statement to the Press, emphasising inter alia that a coalition made on compulsions, rather than affinity and conviction, would be largely rejected by the people as an act of crass opportunism. He disclosed in the communication that Mufti Mohammad Sayeed (Patron) and his daughter, Mehbooba Mufti (President and MP from South Kashmir), were the only decision makers in the PDP.

Following is the text of Mr Baig's statement:

Apropos a statement of mine which appeared in an English news paper Sunday regarding the possibility of finding a middle path solution to the problem of settlement of Pakistani refugees who are settled along the line of control in Jammu region, I received a call from a very responsible person Sunday asking me the meaning and purpose of expressing my views at this critical juncture. I was told that National Conference and JKLF will take an undue advantage of my statement and may probably launch an agitation against the proposed alliance between PDP and BJP.

I wonder how any person could mis-understand my statement for the following reasons:-

I did not specify the parameters of the solution but only indicated the guidelines for the same. According to me, this is a humanitarian problem and not a political problem. The refugees are already settled here and they have a right to vote for Parliament. The issue is whether they can be granted the status of permanent residents of the state. I indicated that this can be done only if the Jammu & Kashmir Constitution permits it. Those who understand the constitution of the State know that there is no provision to that effect.

Secondly, I indicated that so far as the point of view of Muslims is concerned, it should be guided by the teachings of Holy Quran and Sunnah, while Hindus may have their own point of view. Is there anything wrong in suggesting that Muslims should follow the tenants of their faith in finding a solution to this humanitarian problem?

Finally I indicated that if refugees from Pakistan who are already enjoying the citizenship of India, are to be given status of permanent residency of the State, then wouldn’t it be possible for Bangladeshi refugees in India to claim similar status where-ever they are presently settled in India. Am I wrong in pointing out this crucial issue for the consideration of Government of India?

There has been a whisper campaign that I am pushing for an alliance between BJP and PDP because I would like to get some personal benefit out of it. I have made it clear to both the BJP emissary as well as PDP leadership that I express my views without any desire or agenda to secure any political position. In fact I HAVE SUBMITTED A WRITTEN COMMUNICATION TO MUFTI SAHIB WITH THE REQUEST THAT MY LETTER OF RESIGNATION FROM PARLIAMENT SHOULD BE FORWARDED TO THE HON’BLE SPEAKER OF LOK SABHA, IF MY INTENTIONS ARE EVER SUSPECTED.

I have publically stated that, in my view PDP/BJP alliance will remain stable only if there is good faith agreement on political issues of the state contained in the CMP. I have publically stated at-least three times that if Mufti Sahib and Mehbooba Ji are convinced that alliance with any other party including congress would be more beneficial to the State, they should be free to exercise that option.

I am of the view that irrespective of whether PDP forms an alliance with BJP or not, there will be those within and outside the state who will oppose PDP. How can any person expect that those people are opposed to the very existence of PDP should garland this party for whatever decisions it takes. These people will find fault with PDP even if this party were to offer to the people of the State a paradise on earth.

So far as formation of government with BJP is concerned, I want to state once for all my views which are as follows:-

Mufti Sahab and Mehbooba Ji, who are the only two decision makers in the party, should forge such an alliance only out of convection and not out of compulsion. If they are convinced that such an alliance will be in the interests of the State, politically and economically, they should go ahead. The political issues would necessarily involve an agreement on the process to resolve Kashmir issue in a democratic and constitutional manner through the process of dialogue.

If these leaders come to this conclusion, then they should not be deterred by the possible threats of those people who are opposed to the very existence of the PDP.

On the other hand, if PDP and BJP cannot agree on fundamental issues, then it is better to sit in the opposition or go back to the people rather than enter into a  mere power sharing agreement, which will be seen by people and judged by history as an act of opportunism. In that case, PDP should resist any request or pressure from any quarter including the winners of the previous election to form Government in any case.

I don’t underestimate the possibility that the opponents of PDP and the separatist elements may create a trouble whenever they get an opportunity. However, I don’t subscribe to the view that we should, in any case, surrender to such pressure tactics. The views expressed now and then  by certain elements within the state stand on different footing then the views expressed by some other people who have no vested interest in the political future of the State. In this regard, although I respectfully disagree with certain assertions and conclusions of Mr. A. G. Noorani, I do not suspect his bona-fides for three reasons:-
He is on record to have publically supported PDPs policies of finding solution to the Kashmir issue through democratic and constitutional methods.

He is not our political adversary and has lauded the emergence and policies of this party in the past.

I believe, he is not on anybody’s payroll.

Whereas Noorani’s views are quite ponderous and merit serious consideration, I would hope that he would think it fit to go a little soft on Mufti Sahib and Mehbooba Ji.

It is one thing to find fault with another person’s judgment, it is another thing to suspect his or her intentions. I will not be doing any favour to Noorani by admitting that his intentions must be honourable and credit worthy. Equally, I hope that the intentions of Mufti Sahib and Mehbooba Ji too should not be suspected. God and History will judge all of us by our deeds and not just by our words. Only future will unfold PDPs deeds.

In the meantime, as always, I shall hope and pray for the best for our people.