The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mufti counts beyond numbers

Srinagar, Nov. 15: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today iterated that “credibility among the people was more important for his government’s stability than actual numbers in the Assembly”.

In an interview, Mufti said the previous National Conference regime had “lost the opportunity it had got in 1996 to change the situation”.

“Stability of my government lies not in numbers alone. It is the credibility that is important,” the chief minister said a week before he is slated to seek a vote of confidence on the floor of the Assembly, whose joint session will be held on November 21. All the newly-elected MLAs will be administered oath by pro-term speaker Abdul Aziz Zargar on November 18.

“Good performance builds credibility, and if the government is credible in the eyes of the public it will be stable. I would rather concentrate on earning the people’s trust for my government than worry about the numbers,” Mufti said.

“The people are watching the new government with expectations. So much of euphoria has been created and I am worried how not to fail my people,” the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief said, adding: “People’s pressure will force us to deliver.”

The chief minister said he would abide by the promises made in the common minimum programme of the Congress-PDP coalition in the state and reorganise the special operations group (SOG). “I will reorganise the SOG of the state police and we will not implement Pota and gradually release political detainees against whom there are no charges,” he said.

“The solution to the problems facing Jammu and Kashmir is not in using force but in winning over the alienated people,” Mufti said, expressing his deep faith in democracy. “It is a battle of ideas, not bullets.”

The chief minister underlined his priority to provide a healing touch to the situation and minimise people’s sufferings. The administration, he said, has been asked “to present a humane face”.

“Alongside, I would request the Centre to initiate a dialogue with the elected representatives and others in Jammu and Kashmir. The Prime Minister has promised to initiate dialogue with the elected representatives,” Mufti said.

“The assumption of office by a representative government has created the atmosphere for dialogue. Even the common minimum programme of the coalition government stresses on unconditional dialogue between the Centre and the people of the state,” added the chief minister.

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