Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for being open to ideas for resolving the Kashmir issue, asserting that the PM has the “capacity and will” to change the present stalemate and start a new era of peace, reconciliation and friendship.

CM Mufti also dismissed reports that PM Modi was averse to Kashmir centric CBMs including dialogue with all parties and also Pakistan. 

What is being seen as her attempt to placate the people of Kashmir ahead of byelections, CM Mufti has asked New Delhi to accept the Pakistani proposal to be a part of CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor), while advocating more trade routes for the Kashmir valley including reopening of the erstwhile silk route. During a conlave on Friday, CM Mufti pitched for the phased revocation of AFSPA from the peaceful areas of Jammu and Kashmir.

She clarified that PM Modi was very receptive to the idea of creating a real federal structure in the country. 

She said that the agenda of alliance between the PDP and the BJP is a signed document and although it is the way forward in matters of governance in J&K, it cannot be implemented overnight. 

CM Mufti further said that it was high time that the Central government should reach out to the Kashmiri youth, who, according to her, feel that they are excluded from the process of reconciliation.

CM Mufti is seen to be on a weak wicket in Srinagar and Anantnag, both of which are going to have byelections. Opposition National Conference and Congress have forged a pre-poll alliance to make matters worse.

The PDP will be facing its first test in these byelections after the summer unrest of 2016. The PDP is banking on Hurriyat’s election boycott call as low turnout may improve her party’s prospects. The PDP is facing the opposition’s heat with former CM Omar Abdullah saying that the ruling party is following the RSS’ diktats like a lamb.

Mehbooba Mufti is hopeful that if PM Modi announces the start of a political dialogue then the public’s wrath against her may mellow down. 

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