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'Modi has become a hope for Kashmiris'


BJP says that it will address the Kashmir issue and the grievances of the people of the state, if comes to power in the upcoming elections. Senior party leader Sudhanshu Mittal speaks to TSI’s Kashmir correspondent Haroon Reshi. Excerpts from the interview:
HAROON RESHI | Issue Dated: April 13, 2014, New Delhi
Tags : BJP | Sudhanshu Mittal | Jammu &Kashmir | Modi | Omar Abdullah | Shivraj Singh Chouhan | Mulayam Singh |

How do you see the Kashmiri separatist leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s statement that the Narendra Modi can deliver better than anyone else vis-a-vis Kashmir problem?

Well, Modi believes on the law of the land. And the law says Kashmir is an integral part of the country.But as far as aspirations and grievances of the Kashmiris are concerned, Modi will surely try to address them as he also believes in justice. I am very much sure that Modi will deliver justice to the people of Jammu &Kashmir because he does not believe in discrimination.

What grievances do Kashmiris have?

I think what Kashmir needs is good governance. The biggest grudge of Jammu &Kashmir people was that elections were used to be rigged. But in 2002, when Vajpayeeji was Prime Minister, it was ensured that elections would be free and fair. BJP’s proactive policies have changed the situation to better since 2002. Unfortunately, in the UPA era, things again started getting worse. If Modi becomes thr prime minister, he will carry forward Vajpayee’s Kashmir policy.

But a large section of people believe Modi to be an anti-Muslim leader because of his alleged role in Gujrat riots?

Well, 12 years have passed since the unfortunate incident happened in Gujrat in 2002. Have you heard of any such violent act occurring again in Gujrat since then? If Modi believed in politics of violence or the politics of religion, there would have been more incidents like that. But they haven't.

How do you see the future relations of our country with Pakistan?

There was a time when politics in Pakistan was based on anti-Indian sentiments and the same was here in our country. Our politics was also on abusing Pakistan. But all this has changed now. Indians are now more concerned about their better future. We are concentrating on our progress and development. Pakistan is no more a part of our politics. I think same is with Pakistan. Now, they are much concerned about their own problems and the issues. Both the countries are now trying to find their own progress. I think both sides have got the realization of the facts and now respect each other.

What do you think are the reasons for this change in attitude?

Let’s talk only about our country. Things started getting changed here, after 2007. Politics of governance has become more important than the politics of religion and politics of cast. The (state) governments, which were performing well, were retained and those not delivering well were voted out in the elections. In Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh was voted out for ill governance and was voted in to give her a chance to perform. Andhra Pradesh government was doing well so it was retained in the elections. Vasundhra Raje’s Rajasthan government was voted out . Madhya Padesh government of Shivraj Singh Chouhan was doing well, so it was voted back to the government. In Delhi, Sheila Dikshit got the third term on the basis of her performance. In Gujrat, Modi was voted to power again because he was doing well. Now politics has changed. People want good governance. Ant the political parties know this reality. They now understand that if they have to sustain then they need to perform well.

But a good or bad governance does not seem an issue to the people of Kashmir. They seem more concerned about the resolution of the Kashmir issue. Then how can Modi’s good governance make any difference in this state?

I think, ultimately it is good governance that satisfies the common people of a state, of a country. People of Kashmir too need good governance, justice and peace. They want their aspirations be addressed. And I think Modi has a capability to do all this. Now Modi has become a hope for the country because other governments have failed to deliver good governance. People know well that he is delivering in Gujrat.

Jammu &Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has criticized BJP for denying ticket to its senior party leader, Jaswant Singh. Omar said that the nation needs to be “afraid of the trend” of showing door to the “gentlemen” and laying red carpet for the “goons”. What do you say?

Omar has nothing to do with our party matters. Who should be given mandate and who should not be in BJP; it is something the party has to decide. There were several factors taken into the consideration while issuing the mandates. This is absolutely BJP’s internal matter. No party or politician has the right to tell any other party what to do or what not to.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017