Pir Panjal vote-bank behind Mehbooba Mufti Shiva bhakti?

| Updated: 16 March, 2023 8:50 pm IST

People’s Democratic Party (JKPDP) Chief Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday toured the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir in a bid to woo the minority community of the region. During her tour, she visited a Shiva temple to pay obeisance and offered ‘jal’ (holy water) to a deity at a temple in Poonch.

The unusual move by Mufti is being seen as an attempt to reach out to the minority community in the Pir Panjal region.

A picture of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti offering ‘jal’ (holy water) to a Shivalinga in a temple in the Poonch district of Jammu region went viral on different social media platforms.

Her visit to the temple triggered a sharp reaction from the BJP. While calling her visit a gimmick, BJP Jammu and Kashmir Spokesperson Altaf Thakur took to social media and commented, “This is the change post-Article 370 rollback. She is the same person who would say nobody will pick up Tiranga if Article 370 is revoked. Seeing her at the feet of Lord Shiva indeed is a welcome change. Kuch tou zaroor badla hai (something must have changed),” he said.

Meanwhile, Mufti continued with her soft separatism stance once again. While talking to local media she said as Chief Minister, she scrapped 12,000 FIRs registered against youth and brought the country’s top leadership to the table for talks with the Hurriyat.

“We ensured peaceful life for border residents while executing a one-month ceasefire on Line of Control,” she further commented.

She also accused the Centre of trampling the Constitution as leaders of Opposition parties were being jailed In New Delhi “without any reason by misusing the Enforcement Directorate and Central Bureau of Investigation”.

As the photograph of her visit to the temple became viral on social media invoking a mixed response from the netizens she downplayed the whole event by commenting; “This temple was built by Yashpal Sharma, and his son wanted me to go inside the temple. After that, somebody gave me a vessel containing water, so it would have been wrong to deny it, so I offered prayers at the Navagraha temple in Poonch.”

Though her visit to the temple is seen as an attempt to build bridges with the minority community of J&K, it’s her soft separatism statements that will become a major impediment for her party to win over the minorities of J&K.

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