Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference president Sajad Lone made waves on Wednesday by emerging as a challenger to Mehbooba Mufti and staking a competing claim on forming the Jammu and Kashmir government, before the Governor dissolved the state assembly.
Lone, who was elected the MLA of Handwara in the last Jammu and Kashmir elections -- completing his turn to supporting democracy after years championing separatism, spoke on Thursday to Republic TV's Editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, at first, speaking about the claim he made to form a government with the support of rebel MPs:
"The normal discourse that they are trying to spread is that I am some party breaker. But within the bounds of legality and within the bounds of Constitution, if a certain number decided to go away from the party, it is Constitutionally allowed. So whatever I was going to do was in the ambit of Constitution. So, if something is illegal, why would it be in the Constitution,” said Sajad Lone
Talking about the PDP-NC-Congress alliance, Sajad Lone said,
It is these people who have to look if they are not able to inspire their own MLAs, who they have treated like cattle. Even in the deliberations yesterday, they did not talk to a single MLA and their MLAs were issuing statements against each other the whole day yesterday, which was not reported yesterday unfortunately. They were taking decisions at the top without consulting their own MLAs.”
On being questioned about his strategy to keep a stable government in the state, he stated that a group of like-minded people have come together discuss a discourse of development in order to get rid of the lies and deceit.
Later, answering on whether he's is being propped by the BJP, he said that he was his own man and has the belief to change the destiny of Jammu and Kashmir.
“I am my own man. I have the courage to accept the process of evolution , come out of separatism and going into mainstream. I have this belief that we will get together and change the destiny of the people. I am a simple Kashmiri willing to contribute. I am not anti anything. I am pro my people. I will go to any extend. I am here because of being there on the ground. You talked about being propped up by BJP, then they would have put me in saddle yesterday. They didn't. So that is not the case,” he added.
Further, speaking on his claim to the J&K Governor, the Handwara MLA stated that he was the first one to call him, but he could not send him the documents because his fax machine was not working.
"I called the Governor. I was the first one to call him. He asked me to send him a fax. The fax machine was not working. Then I WhatsApped it. Nobody tipped me off about it. There was a rebellion in our party. My house had become the centre of many many political actors. There is a third regional force which is emerging, that is a reality and they are scared of that. PDP and NC are coming together to keep me out."
Concluding, he said that the government does not need a dialogue with Pakistan to reach the people of Jammu and Kashmir, they just need to speak to them.
"I am a pacifist but reaching to people of Jammu and Kashmir, there is nothing to have a dialogue with Pakistan."