PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday said the people of Jammu and Kashmir have now come to realise how Article 370 of the Constitution acted as a protective shield for them, after the BJP-led government used bulldozers to demolish houses and businesses of the poor.
She also defended her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's decision to join hands with the BJP to form the government in Jammu and Kashmir after the 2014 Assembly polls, saying the PDP patriarch had successfully "caged the beast".
"When Article 370 was abrogated, some people thought it would only affect the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC). When the bulldozers came to demolish our homes, businesses and even the shelters for our domestic animals, people realised how Article 370 was a protection for us," Mufti said at a function of her party here.
Defending Sayeed's decision to ally with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for government formation after the 2014 Assembly polls, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said her father had caged the beast and stopped it from wreaking havoc.
"No one understands that Mufti sahib had caged the beast. He had caged the BJP," she said.
Mufti said after winning three seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the PDP had expected to win 43 Assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir, but won only 28, while the BJP bagged 25 seats in Jammu.
"It took Mufti sahib three months (to form the government). We have been accused of bringing the BJP into Jammu and Kashmir but how would one stop them? They had the majority in Parliament, they won the majority in Jammu and also, two seats in Kupwara.
"Mufti sahib grabbed the BJP's hand so that he could stop them. For one year, Mufti sahib was the chief minister and I was the chief minister for two years. We implemented our agenda, the Jammu and Kashmir agenda," she said.
Mufti claimed that she would have continued to be the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir even today had she followed the BJP's line. "Since I did not, they pulled out of the government," she said.
-With PTI Input