Srinagar: PDP leader Nayeem Akhtar on Thursday rubbished claims made by veteran politician Ghulam Nabi Azad on the formation of a PDP-Congress alliance in 2002, saying his statements did not add up to a “very credible presentation of facts”.
Azad, a former Congress stalwart, has claimed in his new book — “Azaad: An Autobiography” — that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) founder Mufti Mohamamd Sayeed had come to Delhi for talks with the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi, to form the government in Jammu and Kashmir in 2002.
“I think what Azad said does not add up to a very credible presentation of facts. Azad is reported to claim that he had 42 MLAs with him. Then why didn’t he straight away go and stake the claim (to government formation),” Akhtar told PTI.
The former bureaucrat, who was a close aide of Sayeed, wondered how a party with just 16 members could “blackmail” Gandhi on government formation.
“It’s a narrative that Azad has presented. He has been the longest player at the national level, he has been quite an important player in national politics but our limited concern is about what has been reported in the press as part of this book related to the 2002 formation of the PDP-Congress ministry in the state.
“How could a party with 16 members at number 3 in the table of seats blackmail Sonia Gandhi form a government with the chief minister (coming) from that party of 16?” he asked.
Akhtar said Azad’s narrative on those very important days of Kashmir’s history is the “lack of appreciation of the atmosphere those days”.
“It’s my feeling that Sonia Gandhi perhaps had greater appreciation than Azad ever had, even as the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
“Congress had taken note of this that Kashmir perhaps wanted a change and they had given many seats to the PDP in Kashmir valley which was at the centre of trouble so perhaps they wanted to give this experiment a try and give a sense of achievement to the people of Kashmir who had always been traditionally denied the right to choose their leader,” he said.
“It was a very historic moment which unfortunately came to halt in 2005 after the changeover. A (peace) process that was started in 2002 and 2005 with Mufti Sahab in J&K and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and later Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh in Delhi, came to an abrupt end in 2006… (It) was perhaps the last chance Kashmir had for permanent resolution and peace,” he added.
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