Srinagar, May 25: A war of words erupted between National Conference (NC) chief patron Farooq Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti when former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was making a presentation at the round-table conference yesterday even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh silently watched the proceedings.
The verbal duel ended after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad intervened and urged the two leaders to calm down.
Sources said as soon as Mr Sayeed referred to self-rule in his presentation, Dr Abdullah intervened and claimed that autonomy was a better proposal.
''You come out of the security zones first and then talk of demilitarisation,'' the former Chief Minister reportedly told his successor.
The sources said Ms Mufti retorted when Dr Abdullah during his speech said ''New Delhi ought to trust us''.
This prompted the PDP chief to intervene. ''They (New Delhi) will never,'' she said.
The remarks angered Dr Abdullah as he said, ''Mera Tumhara Humesha Jagda rahay ga. Jab power tha us waqat self-rule nahin bola, aaj bol rahay ho (There wil always be a fight between us. When in power you never referred to self-rule. Now you demand it),'' the NC leader said thus followed a massive outburst.
''You are used to theatrics. You fool people by dancing and waving a green handkerchief. You have no moral courage to leave the coalition. You just threaten the Congress to leave the coalition but actually want to remain in power. You are running Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's agenda here,'' Dr Abdullah said.
Ms Mufti shot back in a harsher tone. ''Why don't you ask your son Omar Abdullah (NC President)? Didn't he go to Pakistan and apologise for Sheikh Abdullah's mistakes? You are pleasing Gen Musharraf. You are befooling people by autonomy while we seek self-rule for entire Kashmir,'' she said.
The sources said the Prime Minister silently watched the verbal duel between the two senior political leaders of the state.
However, Mr Azad intervened and sought to cool down the tempers even as both Mr Sayeed and Mr Omar Abdullah remained well composed and chose not to interfere.