‘Disturbed ‘ and ‘stressed’ with PDP’s ‘inability’ to live up to the expectations of the Public, Senior PDP leader and one of the architects of the Party, Muzaffer Hussain Beigh has said, the day he feels that his dignity and honor was ‘compromised’ and his suggestions not taken seriously, he would quit the party. The stalwart leader who was once considered as the most trusted lieutenant of former Chief Minster late Mufti Muhammad Syed revealed that many other ministers and leaders of incumbent PDP dispensation have meaningfully drifted apart, though, “Nothing can be predicted”.
Terming the present PDP dispensation as ‘unpopular’ and ‘ineffective’ as compared to that of the Mufti Mohammad Syed led unit in 2002, Beigh said, he was feeling ‘suffocated’ and ‘stressed’ with the crises PDP was currently in. The former Deputy Chief Minster in his exclusive interview with The Kashmir Magazine said that the PDP had been formed with great hopes and was nurtured by the former Chief Minster late Mufti Mohammad Syed along with many other founding members including him (Beigh) to provide a vibrant political alternative to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He however, regretted that the same PDP looked like a ‘scattered unit’ with visibly no centrifugal force with many leaders trying to create their own power houses within the party. The revelations of Mr. Beigh have come to fore just a few days after he took on, many senior Party ministers asking them to mend their ways as their ‘internal bickering’ had caused a huge damage to the party leaving the party workers ‘confused’ and ‘dejected’. During his speech to the Party’s ‘electoral college’ that had assembled to elect President of the party, Beigh had advised party men to bring unity in the camp and had regretted that it was painful to see the ‘infighting’.
““During my speech, I stressed for unity as I had been getting inputs that everything was not well in the party and many ministers were not even in talking terms with each other.” Beigh told this Magazine, adding that the situation was disturbing for the party as well as for workers who have sacrificed everything for this Party. He said that since he was one of the founder members of the party, therefore he was duty bound to point out the weaknesses and strengths of the party so that the president and the workers are not misled. The Parliamentarian said, “I began my speech with a very lighter note so that some humor is brought in the meeting, but what I said was in no way a casual thing. I said that there is a perception that everything is not going well in the party as many ministers are not even in talking terms with each other. We have three ministers in the cabinet who are relatives to each other and surprisingly, they are not talking to each other,” said Beigh, adding that even workers told him that if they go to one minster, the other gets annoyed. The former Deputy Chief Minster said that he had requested the most senior ministers among the three to take a lead in making efforts for reconciliation.
He said while drawing a comparison between the Late Mufti led government of 2002 and the incumbent Mehbooba led government, he urged the ministers and leaders to pause and see what the people were thinking of that regime and today’s government. The parliamentarian stressed that militancy was even then yet people were satisfied with the governance which satisfaction was someway missing now. Beigh said the ‘perception’ of the people regarding governance of the incumbent government was not encouraging and added that ministers must ask themselves, why the perception about their performance was so negative .
“Perception of our governance is worse than our performance.” He said, adding that there was no mechanism in place where the PDP government could not only repulse the ‘hyper negativity’ of the perception but also is able to propagate its achievements to the best satisfaction of the people. Beigh said suggesting that there must be a counter narrative to the ‘wrong perception’ with regard to performance.
“Sometimes the negativity of the perception causes more damage than the actual failures in the governance. We are lacking that skill. I suggested a team of leaders should be tasked to remove the misperception pertaining to governance, and help the government in propagating the positive aspect of governance.” Beigh said, hoping the party regains the popularity it enjoyed during the times of Mufti led government in 2002, but he quickly added that the present government was way behind the previous 2002 Mufti Government viz a viz governance and popularity.
“We were a unit then, we too had different opinions but our difference if any, never went to public or had any adverse effect on the governance and our delivery. We would work as a team which is, I think missing in this regime.” Stressed Beigh, who was the key figure in then cabinet. when asked what went wrong this time, the parliamentarian said, that barring a few, they are all ‘first time’ ministers who do not have so much of experience, but according to Beigh what has made the things worse was the ‘ infighting’ in the Party and the sad demise of Mufti Muhammad Syed.
“Even Mehbooba Mufti had never been in Cabinet before and no matter how intelligent you are, delivery is something different.” He added.
“I understand, Mehbooba Mufti was hugely upset emotionally due to loss of Mufti Sahab, as he was not her father only but a good friend too. But what pains me, that none of the ministers took the responsibility to advice her about the governance during that period, and that this where we lost the plot.” Said the former Deputy Chief Minster. He added that Mehbooba was left alone to fight not only the emotional battle within her but also the circumstances that emerged due to turmoil soon after she took the reins.
When asked why didn’t he come forward and help Mehbooba come out of the crises, Beigh hinted that he had already been sidelined and there was nothing for him to offer.
“ I am in Parliament.. Can’t interfere in governance. I can only give suggestions which I am doing occasionally.” Said Beigh, adding that during his address to electoral college also, he argued that People would judge PDP on the basis of its ‘political agenda’ and ‘performance’ and asked every party leader to peep into his own heart and reply to his conscious whether we have fulfilled our promises on both fronts.?
“PDP was formed to seek resolution of Kashmir Issue. But in contrast we hear statements of various parties and leaders of other parties like BJP on abolition of Article 370, 35-A. how is this going to help.?”
Beigh however said that the PDP’s self rule now looked like an ‘obsolete’ document as the idea was never going to be possible unless Hurriyat and Pakistan accepted it.
“Some Congress leaders during PDP-Congress government sabotaged the self rule proposal and stopped Dr. Manmohan Singh from working on it. Dr. Singh had begun working on it, but some Congress leaders in New Delhi didn’t allow him.” revealed Beigh, adding that it was unlikely that Self rule would be a successful viable option unless Hurriyat and Pakistan supports it. He stressed that Hurriyat must be taken on board to ensure any progress in the dialogue process. When asked why the PDP did not stress for the implementation of Agenda of Alliance with BJP, Beigh revealed that he had no idea what the two parties had agreed upon before entering into alliance.
“ I was completely sidelined. On Dec.28th 2014, Mufti Sahab in the presence of Mehbooba Ji had told me to get document prepared for my preliminary negotiations with BJP. On January 1st 2015, I was told by Mehbooba Ji that I should stay back and some other person had been chosen to speak to BJP. I don’t know why they did so, but yes I was sidelined, therefore I do not have any knowledge about the terms and conditions of the engagement with BJP.
However, what I know surely is that prior to alliance with Congress in 2002, I had worked tirelessly to get the agreement documented. The alliance with Congress was successful and impactful because we had made then Prime Minster Dr. Manmohan Singh along with some senior Congress leaders to sign on the CMP, which unfortunately is missing this time.” Said the parliamentarian. He added, that when he was first told that he would speak to BJP on behalf of the party, he had an idea that he would put forth his demands followed by a request of a direct meeting between Prime Minster Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah and Mufti Mohammad Syed and Mehbooba Mufti. Beigh, however regretted that nothing of that sort happened and everything went down the drain.
He pointed out that the real problem of alliance is that Late Mufti Mohammad Syed and Mehbooba Mufti did not personally negotiate the terms of alliance with Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. There was no understanding at the top. Infact this problem this problem was further complicated as there was no meeting between the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then Chief Minster Mufti Mohammad Syed during the nine months that Mufti was in Chair. In the absence of such meeting and interaction between the Prime Minister and then Chief Minster, and therefore no awareness and appreciation of each other’s stand relating to nature of Kashmir Problem. Beigh said that during his speech before the electoral college, he requested Mehbooba to try to undo that failure by trying to convince the leaders like Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and other leaders of BJP that Article 370 and 35_A, are not only beneficial for the people of Jammu as well as Kashmir, but are not at all harmful for the interest of nation. He hoped that Mehbooba will take the suggestions seriously ,otherwise “ Our” Opponents and the people at large will conclude that PDP was and is interested only in getting some power and not in addressing the basic issue of our state which has resulted in addressing the basic issue of our state which has resulted in the death of many thousands of youth and , young men and security personale , a situation that is becoming worse day by day .He however, expressed satisfaction that during the last some months, killing of civilians , firing of pellets and stone pelting incidents have diminished. He said that the need of the hour is to consolidate this temporary peace into a permanent solution.
Regarding his stand on Bureaucracy, the PDP leader said, “My view that Kashmiri officers should not be sidelined is not based on Communal considerations, but in utilitarian considerations. The local officers know the ground situation better than the Non local officers, who are also competent but do not know the ground reality.”
Muzaffer Beigh also said that a certain section of Jammu based Muslims particularly Gujjars are feeling “insecure” and there is a need to restore their confidence. He however, said that a great alliance with BJP has been that on various occasions, when there was threat of communal riots, but that didn’t happen because of BJP. He added, that a great backlash would have happened when Amaranth Yatris were killed in valley, but BJP co trolled it. Beigh further told Kashmir Magazine that “We must thank BJP for the role, they played including the Union Home Minster to ensure that no anti-Muslim Communal riots take place.