Press Trust of India

Omar demands holding of assembly polls in JK

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Jammu: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Tuesday advocated for holding the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir with the parliamentary polls next year, saying the people need an opportunity to choose their elected government.

He also defended “parivarvaad” (familism) in politics and also questioned the remarks of Home Minister Amit Shah that three families — National Conference, PDP and Congress — are responsible for terrorism-related deaths in the Union Territory.

“I have no grudge against Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) who is a big man and also elder to me. I do not have any objection (for his remarks against me). However, I want to tell him that he should announce assembly elections and we will see whom the people will vote for,” Abdullah said.

He was responding to a question about Modi’s remarks that “if you want the advancement of the Abdullah heirs, then vote for NC. But if you want the progress of your son, daughter and grandchildren, vote for BJP.”

“You (PM) are not giving an opportunity to the people let election be held, the results will be before you whether they like NC or not,” he said.

He said, “You have to go for parliamentary elections (next year), let assembly elections (in J-K) be held with it. Give us an opportunity, we will see who is right and who is wrong.”

The former chief minister said the BJP is afraid of losing assembly elections and is deliberately delaying the polls.

“They think one of us is going to win and so they are not holding the polls because they know there is a lot of difference between what they are saying and what they are doing.”

He said he is confident that if assembly elections are held today, the BJP is not “going to cross 10 seats, leave aside their claim of 50 plus seats”.

On BJP’s remarks that the party is ready for the polls but the decision is to be taken by the Election Commission, Abdullah said the election commissioner has time and again made it clear that they need a signal from the Centre that the situation is conducive for holding the polls in J-K.

“Election Commission is on record as having said that we accept there is a vacuum and that vacuum needs to be filled. It is obvious that the Election Commission is not given a green signal for polls in J-K,” he added.

On accusations of the party pursuing “parivarvaad”, he said there is no party in the country, except Leftists, which can have no familism.

“BJP senior leaders have adjusted their sons and daughters somewhere. The only difference is that we do not hide it and accept it. We have a political background and have to present our report card before the public who either accept us or reject us. This is democracy and everyone has a right to take part in elections.

“If I belong to a political family that does not mean I have no place for politics. It is my right and I am in politics,” he said.

He alleged that democracy is functioning in the rest of the country but not in Jammu and Kashmir, where “people sitting in high offices are interfering in day-to-day politics”.

Earlier, addressing the party workers, Abdullah said the people of Jammu and Kashmir are distressed and angry except a few who had links with the government.

“Big promises have been made to the people of Jammu and Kashmir but these promises were never fulfilled. There is no development, while inflation is sky-high and unemployed youth are distressed,” he said.

Omar said that his party will attend the next meeting of the opposition leaders in Bengaluru.

“National Conference president Farooq Abdullah has received the invitation (for the Bengaluru meet to be held on July 17-18) and has decided to attend it. Who will represent the party in the meeting is yet to be decided,” Abdullah told reporters here.

Referring to the opposition party leaders’ meeting held in Patna on June 23, he said it was to form a strategy to counter the BJP at the national level during the next year’s parliamentary elections.

Abdullah declined to comment on the possibility of unity among opposition leaders ahead of the next assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

“How the strategy will be implanted at the state level should be left to us. We will see how the situation develops and what needs to be done. The election bugle has not been sounded (for assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir) and you want us to make our strategy public beforehand,” he said.

The NC leader said they will keep the cards close to their chest and open these only when the time comes.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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