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Modi Objects to Sayeed’s Remarks About Pakistan

NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed on Tuesday his disapproval of the remarks made by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in which the latter gave credit to Pakistan and the Kashmiri leaders and militants for the successful assembly elections in the state.

The prime minister said such a statement could not be supported.

“If somebody makes such a statement, we can never support it,” he said in Rajya Sabha, referring to the remarks made by Mr Sayeed who is heading a PDP-BJP coalition government in the state.

Members had been dema­nding Mr Modi’s response to the remarks made by Mr Sayeed soon after he was sworn in on Sunday.

“If somebody makes a statement somewhere and we are forced to respond here, things will not work,” the prime minister said. He asserted that his government “will move ahead with the policy of ‘zero tolerance’ towards terrorism” and “all resolutions passed here (in parliament) will be implemented in letter and spirit.”

Mr Modi said the credit for the successful elections should go to the people of Jammu and Kashmir who “removed doubts” in the international community by turning up in large numbers… and “put their stamp of approval on what India had been saying all along”.

Chief minister stands by his comments

On questions put by some members whether BJP would pull out of the coalition government over the issue, Mr Modi said the government would run only on the basis of common minimum programme.

“I want to assure this house and 125 crore people of the country that the government formed in Jammu and Kashmir is based on the common minimum programme and the government will run on its basis,” he said while replying to the motion of thanks to the president’s address.

On Sunday, Mr Sayeed, in his first news conference after assuming office as chief minister of the state, had said: “Pakistan, Hurriyat and militants allowed conducive atmosphere for assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.” Following Mr Sayeed’s remarks, former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah took a dig at BJP, questioning its stand on the issue.

“Dear BJP, please explain role of security forces and polling staff considering your CM just said ‘Pak allowed elections in J&K’,” he tweeted.

For his part, Mr Sayeed defended his remarks. “What I have said, I have said. Will stand by that,” he said and blamed the media for making mountain out of a molehill.

By arrangement with the Times of India

Published in Dawn March 4th , 2015

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