Upset over sitting arrangement, ex-JK deputy CM Muzaffar Beig leaves PM rally venue

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during the 'Viksit Bharat, Viksit Jammu & Kashmir' programme, in Srinagar, Thursday, March 7, 2024.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during the 'Viksit Bharat, Viksit Jammu & Kashmir' programme, in Srinagar, Thursday, March 7, 2024.

Srinagar | Former Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister Muzaffar Beig, who was among several non-BJP leaders invited to Narendra Modi's rally here, left the venue in a huff even before the Prime Minister's arrival as "no separate (sitting) arrangement" had been made for Padma awardees like him.

A Padma Shri awardee, Muzaffar Beig was accompanied by his wife and Baramulla District Development Council (DDC) chairperson Safeena Beig.

After reaching the Bakshi stadium here, the couple were taken to a sitting area meant for BJP leaders and others. However, they left minutes later.

Speaking to reporters, Safeena Beig said it was unfortunate that there was no separate seating arrangement for Padma awardees.

"Beig is a Padma awardee and came here in that capacity. But it was very unfortunate that there was no separate arrangement for such awardees," she said.

"We had come here to welcome our prime minister and thank him. I had come here as (DDC) chairperson. This is an official function and we wanted to be part of it," she said.

Safeena Beig said she would take up the matter with the government.

Asked about speculation that Muzaffar Beig might join the BJP, she said politicians from different parties were present at the rally venue and it does not mean all of them are joining the BJP.

"This is not a BJP function," she said.

Apni Party leader and former Srinagar mayor Junaid Azim Mattu, National Conference leader Pervez Qadri and People's Conference leader Raja Ajaz Ali were among the politicians who attended Modi's rally.

The rally, the first by a prime minister at the Bakshi stadium, was held amidst stringent security arrangements. The city, south of Jhelum, was converted into a fortress with only people having valid passes allowed to proceed towards the venue.

This was Modi's first visit to Kashmir since the Centre abrogated the special status given to the erstwhile state and divided it into two Union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh -- on August 5, 2019.

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