Srinagar: Dismissing Narendra Modi's criticism of dynastic politics and corruption in Jammu and Kashmir, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said it was "election rhetoric" and exposed the Prime Minister's ignorance about the state.
The sharp reaction from the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) chief came a day after Modi, during an election rally in Kishtwar, accused the Abdullah and Mufti families of "looting" J&K by turns and asked the voters to "punish" them.
"Even election time rhetoric should be restricted to decent levels and when the Prime Minister of the country speaks, he should not allow it to sound ridiculous as his comments about PDP in Kishtwar address sounded," Mehbooba said addressing roadside rallies in south Kashmir.
Mehbooba asked the Prime Minister to get his facts right before commenting on other political parties saying "it seems the Prime Minister has serious gaps in his knowledge on Jammu and Kashmir".
She said when Prime Minister of India speaks on serious matters, one would "ordinarily expect him to be correct on facts whatever his opinion on different issues".
The PDP president claimed that everybody in Jammu and Kashmir and rest of the country was aware about the integrity and credentials of party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and "the fact that his party introduced a much needed corrective into the democratic system of the state by offering a credible and serious regional alternative to the people."
"The three years that Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led coalition served the state are still remembered as a reference point for good governance and political maturity which changed the scenario not just in Jammu and Kashmir but in the entire region," she said.
She said former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee publicly acknowledged the positive change that Sayeed had brought in the atmosphere and on the ground in J&K and could take his historic initiative on the state and about Pakistan "only after change of government in the state".
"Till then, even in spite of being in alliance with the National Conference which was having a brute majority in the state assembly, Vajpayee had not been able to break ice on any front relating to Jammu and Kashmir," Mehbooba said.
She said the PM forgot that his party at one point was in
alliance with the National Conference both at the Centre and in the state and alleged that the BJP has continued its "covert relationship" with the party at all crucial points.
"While NC and Congress have for most part of the post independence period ruled the state together or separately, the PDP during its brief three-year tenure scripted an entirely new chapter in governance and made effective interventions to bring down levels of tension and repression in the state," Mehbooba claimed.
She said the PDP government was the first to establish an accountability commission which the Union government is "still struggling to put together at the national level".
Similarly, J&K established RTI in 2004 and a strong institutional system was established to check corruption which was "diluted" by the present coalition, she added.
The PDP President said the BJP is viewing the PDP as the only stumbling block to its "disruptive designs" for the state which is why perhaps the Prime Minster tried to paint NC and PDP by the same brush.
"While the PDP has established itself as a platform for a pluralistic and inclusive Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP has been trying to polarise the situation in Jammu in its favour and divide the vote through underhand means in Kashmir and other parts of the state," she alleged.
Mehbooba said though the BJP government has been paying lip service to the Vajpayee policy on Jammu and Kashmir, there has so far been no evidence of any initiative in that direction.
"The atmosphere of hope generated by inviting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for Modi's inauguration was unnecessarily reversed by calling off the secretary level talks with Pakistan on flimsy grounds," she said.