SRINAGAR: In her first reaction to rebellion in her party, Peoples Democratic Party president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday warned New Delhi against splitting her party saying it can have disastrous consequences.
"If New Delhi tries to repeat 1987 when they rigged the elections in the State and if they resort to horse trading, it can have disastrous consequences. It can lead to birth of new Salaudhins and Yasin Maliks (referring to Hizb and JKLF chiefs)," Mehbooba told reporters after laying wreaths on graves of July 13, 1931 martyrs at martyrs graveyard at Naqashband sahib in downtown Srinagar today.
Claiming that her party is stong, she said without Delhi's involvement, there can be no horse trading in the State.
"No breakup or horse trading is possible without Delhi's support". Mehbooba warned that if New Delhi tries to crush or break PDP in the manner they crushed the Muslim United Front (MUF) in 1987, then it would be a like an attack on the democratic right to vote of a Kashmir. "It will have disastrous consequences".
On rebellion in the party, she said, "Every party has differences and even in a family, there is difference of opinion. It can be corrected."
It was the first public appearance of Mehbooba after the PDP-BJP government led by her collapsed on June 19 following withdrawal of support by BJP on security concerns. Reacting to Mehbooba's statement, former chief minister and National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah said it won't matter to Kashmiris if the PDP breaks up.
"Let me put this out here for all to remember not one new militant will be created with the break-up of the PDP. People won't mourn demise of a party created in Delhi only to divide the votes of Kashmiris," Omar tweeted.
He said Mehbooba must really be desperate if she is threatening the centre with renewed militancy if PDP breaks up. "She seems to have forgotten that militancy in Kashmir has already been reborn under her most able administration."
Omar said Mehbooba has done more to expose the fissures in her party than anyone in Delhi could have done. "She has basically declared open season on her MLAs with her hollow sabre rattling".
Meanwhile, disgruntled PDP MLA and former militant Imran Ansari, who has emerged as leader of the dissident party MLAs, slammed Mehbooba for her statement. In a series of tweets, Imran said, "Are you telling that people will take to guns because you and your cronies have been driven out of power. It is an end to cronyism. People are celebrating wake up".
"I am one of the dissenters. Are you telling me that Delhi convinced me to rebel against you to wake up you from slumber. You humiliated me for three years," he said.
Telling Mehbooba to step being a "white collar killer", Imran said, "What ninety are you talking of. You have already surpassed ninety in your tenure. Stop issuing threats and stop blackmailing. There is no appetite for all this song and dance". Later, addressing a press conference along with dissident PDP MLAs Javed Baig, Abdul Majeed Padder and MLCs Saif-ud-Bhat and Yasir Reshi, Imran said the dissident groupainst Mehbooba being PDP president. He said writing on the wall was clear for Mehbooba as they have lost faith in her leadership.
"We had elected her president and we don't have confidence in her now," he said adding, "She is so scared now that she is claiming that if PDP breaks, 1987-like situation will return". He said Mehbooba wants people to believe that if she was not in power, people would pick up guns.