Other States

Jammu now closer to Kashmir

Soon after he took oath as the 12th Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, Peoples Democratic Party leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed called his party’s alliance with the BJP a historic moment which he wanted to be a turning point.

“Kashmir has been a problem in front of every Prime Minister, whether it was Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee or now Narendra Modi. We want to change history and make this alliance [BJP-PDP] a turning point in history,” he said.

Mr. Sayeed said he saw the moment as an opportunity to bring closer the people from the two regions of Jammu and Kashmir, and said the alliance with the BJP was not of convenience but of conviction.

“It takes 30 minutes to travel [by air] between Jammu and Srinagar, and after the highways are completed, it will take four hours by road,” he said. But the distance between the two regions, he said, is far more than that and he hopes to close this distance with this alliance.

Mr. Sayeed reiterated his belief that for the State to come closer to the Union of India, the two regions must come closer.

The swearing-in held in Jammu was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several senior BJP leaders, including L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Amit Shah. Twenty-five legislators from both parties were sworn in as Ministers.

Addressing presspersons later, Mr. Sayeed said that India was destined to drive the SAARC region like Germany did in Europe, and said that Pakistan was the only bottleneck in that role.

He hoped that this would be an opportunity to engage with them as the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee did.

He acknowledged that Pakistan and the Kashmiri separatist leadership did not disrupt the atmosphere during the elections in the State leaving it conducive for a high turnout and said he told Mr. Modi about it as well, and urged that there must be a meaningful engagement with them.

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Printable version | Aug 19, 2022 3:26:44 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/Jammu-now-closer-to-Kashmir/article60331347.ece