Mufti Hopes PM's Kashmir Visit Will Be 'path-breaking'29 October 2015
Srinagar: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit here, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Thursday hoped the trip would be 'path-breaking' and help build an atmosphere of trust that Atal Bihari Vajpayee had 'so successfully weaved'. He said Mr. Modi is keen to usher in a new era of development in the State and hoped that the November 7 visit would provide the much-needed impetus to the development agenda of the PDP-BJP coalition government. Addressing a public meeting here, Sayeed recalled his 'camaraderie' with Mr. Vajpayee when he was the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and the BJP leader was the Prime Minister. Describing the camaraderie as 'historic', the PDP leader said there was a prolonged spell of peace and development between 2002 and 2005 when he was the Chief Minister. 'I am hopeful that the Prime Minister's visit to the state will be path-breaking and help in building a similar atmosphere of trust that Vajpayee so successfully weaved,' Mr. Sayeed said. 'I have met the Prime Minister on quite a few occasions. He has a mission to transform India and he is keen to usher in a new era of development in J&K,' he added. Mr. Sayeed said Mr. Modi is democratically-elected Prime Minister of the country, who rose to power with unprecedented support of over a billion people of the country. Earlier, the people had reposed similar faith in the leadership of Manmohan Singh, Mr. Vajpayee and V. P. Singh, he said. Explaining why he chose to align with the BJP to form the government in the State in March, he said the primary objective was to integrate the people of the three regions - Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh - and bridge the gap between the State and the rest of the country. 'After the Assembly election results were announced, we fell short of majority. I had several options available (to form the government). I received calls from (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad and even (NC leader) Omar Abdullah, who offered unconditional support, but I saw an opportunity to go with BJP and respect the mandate it had won in Jammu region,' he said. Mr. Sayeed also hailed the 'vision' and 'maturity' of former leaders of the State who had decided to align with India. He said while vibrant democratic institutions are the country's greatest strength, Pakistan has not seen sustained growth of its democratic institutions and is struggling with far too many spells of political instability.