Omar hits out at PM on quota bill, says ‘politically motivated’
‘Kashmir a political problem, needs political handling’
Jammu: Former chief minister Omar Abdullah Tuesday termed as “politically motivated” a bill introduced by the Centre in LokSabha that seeks to amend Constitution to provide 10 per cent reservation quota to economically weaker sections from the general category.
The National Conference (NC) vice-president also trained his guns on Prime Minister NarendraModi over the government introducing the reservation bill in Parliament on the last day of the Winter Session, saying “had PM been sincere, he would not have waited for nearly four and a half years”.
“You (BJP) have majority in Parliament for past four and half years, but you did not find it (bill) necessary. But on the last day of the last session of the current LokSabha, you (BJP government) bring this bill and create a new category. It is straight waypoltics being done and people are being fooled”, Abdullah told reporters here.
He questioned the timing of the bill, saying: “I have problem with the timing. As far as the bill is concerned, it will be decided by Parliament or court. My question is about the timing. How come this reservation become suddenly necessary”.
Hitting out at PM Modi for announcing reservation for economically weaker sections belonging to upper castes ahead of the LokSabha polls, Abdullah said, “Politics is a strange thing and politicians are masters in using the people. They think people are naive and gullible”.
“Prime Minister suddenly announced reservation. Had he been sincere, he would not have waited for nearly five years,” Abdullah said.
The former chief minister attributed the decision to BJP’s defeat in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Telangana assembly polls.
“The person (PM), who wants to do it with a clear intention, would not wait for so long. They were defeated in elections in MP, Chatisgarh, Rajasthan and Telengana, and have suddenly woken up to announce this 10 per cent reservation. They have no intent to give reservation. If they would have clear intention, they would have given it earlier. Their intention is clear that it would get through (in Parliament)”, Abdullah added.
Pointing towards its use in the 2019 general elections, Abdullah said, “If the bill doesn’t get passed, the BJP will say that they tried but Parliament didn’t pass it and they will offer the same excuse if it is defeated in the court.”
Asked whether he supports quota for the poor category among the upper caste, Abdullah said if it does not violate the Supreme Court direction of 50 per cent quota and there is consensus among all political parties, he has no reservation with it.
He said the BJP has “failed” Jammu and Kashmir and only made “fake promises” of starting a new chapter of employment in the state.
The BJP-PDP government destroyed the peace in Jammu and Kashmir, he alleged.
Replying to a question on youths joining militancy in the state, Adbdullah said he does not justify what they do.
“I have never justified the use of militancy to achieve political gains. I always believed that J&K is a political problem and hence needs political handling and a political solution, which can be arrived at via dialogue,” the former chief minister said.
He said the Kashmir issue can only be resolved politically and killing of militants is no alternative to bring peace in the Valley.
“J&K is a political problem and its answer is to deal with it politically. I am not justifying the use of violence on any side. Killings of militants will not help,” Abdullah said.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah said Tuesday that assembly polls should be held “as soon as possible” in Jammu and Kashmir to put in place an elected government to run affairs of the state, which is under the President’s rule.
Omar also took a dig at some politicians and bureaucrats for “creating hurdles” in holding of elections of assembly jointly with Parliament elections in the state.
“We want that polls should be held as soon as possible in the state and an elected government in the state is formed so that they run the affairs of state”, Adbullah told reporters here.
He was replying to a question whether his party wants to hold assembly and Parliamentary polls jointly in the state.
“Either he (Union home minister Rajnath Singh) has deceived the Parliament. If you say Rajnath Singh sahib has deceived Parliament, what can I say (on holding of joint elections in J&K)),” he said.
The former chief minister said he “clearly” heard Singh saying in Parliament that “whatever number of forces is required by election commission for holding Assembly and LokSabha elections together, we will provide them”.
The NC vice-president took note of alleged attempts being made to delay polls in the state.
“Some people do not want elections at this time. Some politicians are trying to create hurdles and also some bureaucrats want this system (Governor’s rule) to continue so that their accountability is not checked,” Abdullah said.
The former chief minister also took a dig at Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik over his reported remarks that J&K is like any other state and Patna records more murders in a day than J&K.
“To say Jammu and Kashmir is like any other state, it is wrong. If this Governor, who has been Governor of Bihar before, says like this, then Nitish Kumar (Bihar CM) has to clarify”, he said.
Abdullah said article 370, article 35-A and accession differentiate Jammu and Kashmir from other states.
He said his party has not changed its stand on Article 35-A, which guarantees special rights and privileges to permanent residents of the state, and is doing whatever possible to defend it.
Referring to prominent political leaders joining the National Conference, Adbullah decried the statement of PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, describing leaders leaving her party as “garbage”. He said the statement speaks volumes about “lowest depths” of political discourse.
He said large-scale desertions in the PDP are reflective of the “anger” among people for the “miseries” caused to them during the past three and half years.