Srinagar | Re-elected president of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party on Thursday, former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti virtually launched her party's campaign for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and exhorted the party cadre to start work right away to strengthen the organisation.
"Elections are not everything but these elections are important to get our strength back. Parliament elections are coming and you should get down to work right away," she said in her address to party workers.
She told the workers that the party has to repeat its performance in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections "if you want to pay tributes to Mufti Mohammad Sayeed." Earlier, PDP general secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura proposed the name of Mehbooba for the post of president, which was seconded by former minister Abdul Gaffar Sofi.
All members of the electoral college supported the nomination through a voice vote.
The election process was held simultaneously in Jammu, which was connected to the Srinagar office of the party via a video link.
While thanking the party leaders for reposing trust in her, Mehbooba Mufti claimed that the detractors of the PDP had only two things against her and her late father.
"Only criticism of Mufti (Mohammad Sayeed) was that he went with the BJP for government formation. His decision has been proved right as BJP would have wreaked havoc in J-K if he had not reined them in.
"The criticism against me is about my 'toffee, milk' remark (in 2016). I had said that as a mother. Had they listened to me, my daughter Insha would not have been blinded. She became a collateral in clashes between miscreants and security forces," she said.
In an oblique reference to the National Conference rule in Jammu and Kashmir, the PDP president chose to highlight the Shopian incident in which two women had died in 2009 when Omar Abdullah was the chief minister.
"Is there any other allegation against Mehbooba Mufti? Is she accused of (bringing) POTA, task force? Is she accused of Shopian rape and murder?" she asked.
The former chief minister said her opponents have tried to find faults with her but have not found anything.
"So they will tell you about 'toffee, milk' statement. Let me tell you that social media trolls will not decide the future. It is the people who have got relief during our tenure in power," she said.
Mehbooba said today is accession day, which marks accession of Jammu and Kashmir to the Union of India.
"I want to tell them that we had acceded to the idea of India where our identity will be protected. You have weakened that accession. You will realise this in time to come. I also want to say that you will have to return everything taken from us with interest, starting from what was snatched on August 5, 2019," she said.
In August 2019, the Centre abrogated Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated the state into union territories.
The PDP president also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to persuade "his friend" and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop bombarding the innocent Palestinians.
"I want to tell Modi ji to tell his friend Netanyahu to stop bombing innocents in Palestine," she said.
The party observed one minute's silence in solidarity with the Palestinian victims of Israeli attacks.