National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah hinted on Saturday that his party was staying away from the grand alliance against the BJP in next year’s general election, saying most such parties remained silent when Article 370 was repealed.
He also said talk of a pre-poll alliance in Jammu and Kashmir would be premature before the horn sounds for the Union Territory assembly elections.
“What we have (to contribute) outside of Jammu and Kashmir? We have a total of five (Lok Sabha) seats and what storm can these seats bring? We have to fight the BJP in these seats and what is happening outside J&K is a secondary question,” Mr Abdullah told reporters on reaching the border district of Rajouri.
The former prime minister was responding to a question about the possibility of the National Conference joining forces with other parties against the BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
“Except for coercion, I do not see any benefit of such an alliance for the party and Jammu and Kashmir. I repeatedly say that when they need us, they come to us. When (Delhi Chief Minister Arvind) Kejriwal is in trouble, he needs our support but where were these leaders in 2019 when we faced great deceit,” he said, referring to the repeal of Article 370 and the split of J&K in the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh by the central government.
Omar Abdullah asked which of them stood with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Where were those who today set the tone and cry for protecting the constitution and democracy when we were faced with the assassination of democracy. They did not speak against it and the fact is that they took the step (in parliament ),” the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir said.
However, he said that there are only four parties – DMK, TMC led by Mamata Banerjee and two left parties – that have always supported the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Leave these parties aside, show me one of the other parties that has wholeheartedly supported us. We will fight the BJP on our five seats, let them do what they want,” Abdullah said.
On the possibility of a pre-poll alliance ahead of parliamentary elections in J&K, he said the question is premature as elections are not visible anywhere.
“Bring the election horn, we will sit together to make a call on this. One person’s opinion or decision is not acceptable, all Party (NC) leaders will discuss the issue, weigh the pros and cons and reach a decision consensus,” he said.
The leader of the National Conference said that the bugle has yet to reach the person who is going to blow it, so such questions are of no use.
Omar Abdullah said he is tired of answering questions about the delay in holding parliamentary elections in Jammu and Kashmir. “It is clear that the BJP is not ready and had it been ready, elections would have taken place,” he claimed.
“The Election Commissioner himself had said that after getting information from the Interior Ministry about the (security) situation, they can announce the election dates. Maybe they haven’t gotten the information until now, which is not understandable,” said he, adding that the Chief Election Commissioner admitted that there is a vacuum in Jammu and Kashmir. “Why isn’t it filled up?”.
Mr Abdullah, who used the Mughal Road to reach Rajouri to offer condolences to the family of a party member who breathed his last in Nowshera some time ago, said the government’s efforts should be to ease the suffering of the public and the growing militancy in the region.
“Unfortunately, there is a gap between the administration and the people under the governor’s administration. An elected government is always better than a nominated government,” he said. “People suffer because the administration cares least about whether their problems are addressed or not,” the NC leader claimed.
When asked about commuters being inconvenienced by long queues at security checkpoints on the Mughal Road, he said recent terror incidents in the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch point to growing militancy in the region.
“If commuters are experiencing difficulties, it is evidence that the administration has failed and that the security situation has deteriorated rather than improved. People are facing problems that were not there before,” he said.
On the BJP’s claim of unprecedented development in Jammu and Kashmir during the past nine years of Narendra Modi’s government, he said that “everything will become known” once the elections take place.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)