Soon after taking oath, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today stoked a controversy saying Hurriyat, militant outfits and "people from across the border", an oblique reference to Pakistan, allowed conducive atmosphere for assembly polls, drawing sharp reaction from NC leader Omar Abdullah who demanded that BJP clarify its stand.
"I want to say this on record and I have told this to the Prime Minister that the we must credit the Hurriyat, militant outfits for the conduct of assembly elections in the state," Sayeed said during a press conference here after being sworn in as head of the PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir at a ceremony which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Flanked by deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh of BJP and newly inducted cabinet minister Haseeb Drabu, Sayeed said, "God forbid if they (militants) would have done something. It would not have been possible to have smooth conduct of the elections."
Sayeed said that he felt proud that the people in the heart of Srinagar city came out in large number to vote and thanked the "people from across the border" for the "conducive atmosphere" for the smooth conduct of the elections.
"People from across the border made the atmosphere conducive. They also allowed the democratic process to continue in the state. This gives us a hope," he said in a reference to Pakistan.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah hit out at Sayeed's remarks and asked BJP to explain its stand.
"Pakistan, Huriyaat & Militants allowed Peaceful conduct of elections" says Syeed, I guess we should be grateful to their generosity (sic).
"Dear @BJP4India Please explain role of security forces & Polling staff considering your CM just said, "Pakistan allowed elections in J&K", Omar wrote on the microblogging site twitter.
On a retweet about BJP worker in Jammu celebrating Omar wrote, "Or Just thanking Pak for JK elections."
Speaking to reporters, Sayeed also voiced hope that the induction of separatist turned mainstream politician Sajjad Gani Lone in the Ministry would open avenues for others to follow the suit. "Sajjad Gani Lone has given an opening, an avenue for others (separatists) to follow," he said.
He said peace is a pre-requisite of governance.
"They (referring to Pakistan) also have assets Hurriyat, other militants, if they had done something (during the election) such a participation of people was not possible. I am proud that heart of the Valley Sringar also came forward and participated in the elections," Sayeed said.