Tariq Hameed Karra, who resigned from the People’s Democratic Party and Parliament last week, talks to Hakeem Irfan about Jammu and Kashmir’s main ruling party, its alliance with the BJP and his reasons for leaving PDP where he was a founder-member. Edited excerpts:
Where did the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed go wrong?
Mufti sahab overrated Narendra Modi but the Prime Minister rated Mufti sahab well. Modi knew where Mufti stood and how he had to be dealt with. I said goodbye to Mufti sahab on April 15, 2015, in Jammu and waged a war against the RSS and BJP. I told Mufti sahab that if PDP becomes casualty in that, he should not blame me.
Were you aware of any back channel exercise after the death of Mufti Sayeed?
I was offered the chief ministership by top people in the BJP, before some other person was roped in. They (BJP leaders) offered me tonnes of money. I said no. By conviction, I am against the RSS ideology. They (BJP) were after me but all others (in PDP) were after them, as applicants.Mehbooba Mufti would not be the CM had I accepted the offer. All these talks happened much above (BJP national general secretary) Ram Madhav level. But, I could not sell my conscience for the chair.I was offered the chief ministership even when Mufti sahab was alive. They said Mufti sahab was not well and Mehbooba was not acceptable to them.
Then why did you propose and support Mehbooba Mufti as the CM candidate?
They (the central government and BJP) know how to tighten the nuts and bolts. It could be that they wanted to create pressure to bring Mehbooba ji around. But in their heart of hearts, they didn’t want her to become chief minister. They were on the lookout for a better face administratively. I suggested the name of Mehboobaji because I was in the thick of things. I knew what was their game plan. I had changed my strategy, not the stand, to avoid bigger danger.For me, Mehbooba Mufti was far lesser a danger than somebody else who was amenable to anything and everything.
What were you looking for in the PDP?
I was looking for the buffer character of the party, a path between the two extremes of ultranationalism and ultra-separatism.This space is badly needed for all stakeholders: people of J&K, India and Pakistan. The PDP is discredited as a party, they cannot come back even in a new avatar, but the space of the political buffer is still imperative.
Will the PDP-BJP government in J&K complete its term?
I don’t see this government completing the term. I think they (PDP and BJP) will become liabilities for each other. For the PDP it is already a liability. Politically it suits the BJP this time to continue with the PDP. Why should they take buck on themselves when everything is taken by the PDP? Nobody speaks about BJP ministers, who are silent and have been asked to concentrate on their development projects in Jammu.
Are you floating new party or joining the Hurriyat camp?
There is no chance of crossing the line. Not, at all. I am a mainstream politician. We have a common goal of resolving the Kashmir issue. Let them (Hurriyat) work on their line of action, I will work on mine. This is not the time to float a new party.Right now, the priority is to stop this death and destruction.
Source – Online Media Reports