New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's controversial comments giving credit to Pakistan for the peaceful assembly election in the state created a furore in Rajya Sabha Monday, with the opposition terming it anti-national.
"The chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir was sworn in yesterday in the presence of prime minister (Narendra Modi), L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and BJP president Amit Shah... A press conference was held soon after in which the chief minister made a statement which was most controversial and hurt the nation," Congress leader Shantaram Naik said, raising the issue in the house.
"He said elections were peaceful because of the forces 'us paar' (on the other side). He indicated Pakistan. Then (he said) because of millitants and because of Hurriyat... He gave credit to these three for peaceful elections in Jammu and Kashmir," Naik said.
Opposition members were heard chanting "shame shame" as the Congress member said this.
"This statement is anti-national. BJP spokespersons immediately went into action to salvage the situation and said it is an 'untrue' statement. BJP was embarrased. I will also say this is a violation of oath of office. Within minutes (of taking oath) he is violation the oath by showing allegiance to certain forces which are anti-national," said Naik.
"Secondly what is the role of election commission. It is election commission and security forces and people of Jammu and Kashmir who made this election possible. J&K chief minister did not give credit to any of them."
He also targeted the state government and said: "One of the ministers, his brother is in Hurriyat, no problem... his wife is Pakistani, still I don't know how they are going to tackle this issue."
"During election campaign, Modi very clearly said 370 par kam se kam charcha to karo (atleast discuss article 370)," he added, asking government for an explanation.
He was joined by Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader K.C. Tyagi who said BJP has murdered the ideology of Syama Prasad Mukherjee, founder of BJP's predecessor Bharatiya Jana Sangh.
"The prime minister was there in the oath taking ceremony. Mufti sahab was taking oath. At that time there were two flags on the dais, one of Jammu and Kashmir and one of India," said Tyagi.
"Mukherjee sahab was martyred against this, and yesterday they murdered his ideology," the JD-U leader said.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi tried to salvage the situation, saying the credit for peaceful election goes to the people of the state more than anyone else.
"All I have to say is that people of Jammu, Kashmir, Leh and Kargil have shown their respect for democracy and the way they participated in Lok Sabha and assembly elections, we salute them," Naqvi said.
"If credit goes to someone, it goes to the people first and election commission and the local and central security forces which helped in free and fair election," he said.
Within hours of taking oath as chief minister Sunday, Sayeed said: "There is Hurriyat, there are militants. If they had done something, it would not have been such an election, there would not have been such participation."
He also said that people from across the border also contributed to making the atmosphere conducive.
Sayeed also pitched for taking Hurriyat Conference and separatists on board in talks on the Kashmir problem.