Baig’s Jammu Rally Presence Sparks Speculation; Denies Rejoining PDP

Baig's Jammu Rally Presence Sparks Speculation; Denies Rejoining PDP

Former Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig on Tuesday praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said the lives of people in the country had change under his regime. Baig said he strongly believes in Prime Minister Modi’s remarks that the BJP would secure 370 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“If you cannot trust his (PM’s) word (on 370 seats in the LS polls), how can you trust my words? It (BJP getting 370 seats and NDA getting 400 seats in LS polls) will happen,” Baig told reporters on the sidelines of Modi’s rally here.

He also surprised the political circles by saying that he is not affiliated with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). “I am neither with the PDP nor do I intend to apply to join them. If approached, I will convey that our focus should be on national welfare rather than personal gains,” Baig said while talking to media persons.

On the death anniversary of party founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7, Baig was seen paying his respects at Sayeed’s mausoleum in Bijbhera, located in the south Kashmir district. At that time Baig had said that he would not severe ties with the PDP ever. “My heart has always been with the PDP,” he had claimed.

However, at PM’s rally in Jammu today, Baig spoke in a different language. He said, “His speech was a masterpiece. Today, he spoke in detail about development. People are benefiting from it, and their lives are changing.” The PDP leader further said that electricity has reached distant areas that were in darkness for years and the areas without water supply or roads now have both. Hospitals have been established in remote areas, he added.

Baig credited Prime Minister Modi for bringing peace and normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir due to his bold and compassionate decisions. “No one in the past has done as much work as he has done. When he came to power, he started the journey of development, and today, it has reached its zenith,” he said.

When asked whether he will join the BJP or will be the BJP’s candidate in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Kashmir, Baig said he will respond only after he is approached by the party.

Having been associated with the PDP since 1998, the 77-year-old leader had diverged from the party’s stance after the abrogation of Article 370. Barely six months after the abrogation of Article 370, Baig was conferred the Padma Bhushan in January 2020.

Baig accepted the award when many of the PDP leaders, including Mehbooba Mufti, were detained under the Public Safety Act at the time. Baig was among the first political leaders from Kashmir to denounce Article 370 as a legislative artifact of history.

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