New Delhi: In what could be a major embarrassment for Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti, an official transcript shows that she did praise Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi at the National Integration Council (NIC) meeting last September.
According to the transcript of the NIC meeting released by the home ministry on its website, Mehbooba had referred to her meeting with a Muslim businessman from Chennai, who narrated to her his experience during a meeting with Modi seeking solution to his problems to do business in Gujarat.
She had, according to the transcript, said that Modi had within 10 minutes solved the problems that the Muslim businessman faced.
After citing the experience of the businessman, Mehbooba asked all political parties to reach out to the Muslim minorities so that the community could respond positively.
"I recall once I was in Chennai and I met someone, a Muslim businessman, and he told me that he had gone to see Gujarat chief minister, and he said I was very impressed. I had an appointment with him regarding some business deal and he had got all the officers there, around him. They did not take even 10 minutes and he got his job done," Mehbooba said at the NIC meeting.
"So, I mean, people, minorities, Muslims they are looking forward (to) some kind, some kind of step forward, some kind of reaching out, which I think, we are missing. I mean to say that if all political parties reach out to minorities they will respond positively," she added.
After the NIC meeting Sep 10, 2011, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj mentioned Mehbooba's praise for Modi during her speech on the last day of the three-day 'Sadhbhavana' fast that her party colleague Modi undertook in Ahmedabad Sep 17-19.
Fearing it could lead to a political backlash for her in Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti countered Sushma Swaraj's statement, claiming it was baseless and untrue and that she had never praised Modi at the NIC meeting.
The transcript on the home ministry website now seems to have proved Sushma Swaraj right and Mehbooba Mufti wrong.