Did Jammu & Kashmir get a “Super” Chief Minister?
Taking on the ruling PDP government in J&K, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Tuesday accused the government of aggravating the insurgency situation in the Valley. “You had held me responsible for creating Burhan Wani. But did you ever think about the number of Burhan Wani’s you have given rise to in the past one-and-a-half-years. If I am to be blamed for one, then you must realise how many have you produced.”
Speaking in the Assembly, the Opposition leader also questioned the need for a special representative on Kashmir. He asked the Centre to spell out the roles and responsibilities of interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma and the time period for which he would be engaged.
Abdullah alleged that Sharma was acting as a “super chief minister” and demanded clarification on his mandate. “What is the mission of the special representative? If he works like a super chief minister, as we hear, by meeting delegations to look into the problems with regard to power, water, non-availability of doctors at hospital, unemployment issues. (But) It is your job,” he said.
Training his guns on Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, he said, “You are treading on parallel tracks. It is your responsibility and not Sharma’s to set right electricity transformers, to improve water supply or giving job orders to unemployed youth. If he is a special representative, as was mentioned by the governor in his speech, his responsibility should be different.”
In an apparent reference to the separatist leaders, Omar said Sharma should meet “such people, who will facilitate resolution of the big issues. The minor issues could be solved by you as well”.
The former CM asked the government to clarify if Sharma was an interlocutor or a special representative or a spokesperson as different voices were coming from the governments at the centre and in the state on the issue. “First we don’t know what is the real status of Sharma. You said he is a special representative, and in speeches and interviews he was given the status of an interlocutor, but MoS in PMO (Jitendra Singh) said he is not an interlocutor but a spokesman,” Omar said.
Taking forth the matter of Sharma’s appointment, he said, “After the PM’s speech, we were hopeful of a new beginning and we waited and waited. Then, suddenly, an announcement was made about the nomination of Sharma but soon after confusion took over.”
Demanding clarity on Sharma’s mandate, Omar said, “He has the mandate to talk to who all? MoS and PMO says that the talks will be held within the frame work of Constitution, while MoS Home says the talks won’t be held with separatists. You are saying he will talk with everyone who is ready for talks but the home minister says Sharma himself will decide with whom to talk.”
The NC leader wondered if the special representative would talk to separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq or Yaseen Malik. He also asked the Centre to make it clear whether Sharma was preparing a report and if it would be submitted to Parliament. Cautioning the government against repeating ‘past mistakes’, he said “the people won’t have much faith” in the exercise”.
“Some are our mistakes, some we inherited. If you are not setting right the past mistakes or adding another chapter, then what is the fun,” the NC leader said.