Press Trust of India

Manmohan Singh was true statesman: Omar

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Srinagar: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Saturday said Manmohan Sigh was a true statesman.

In an interview with PTI Videos, Abdullah, who is contesting the Lok Sabha polls from north Kashmir Baramulla constituency, said it was obvious that the Centre was using the probe agencies under it against the leaders of the opposition parties.

“It is not apparent, it is obvious. When 95 per cent of the cases that are being investigated or charged by the Enforcement Directorate are against (opposition ) political leaders and political parties, that tells you.

“At some point, the PM will start looking at his legacy. Right now, I think his aim is to be a PM for longer than Jawahar Lal Nehru. Once that aim is met, then, none of us get younger, we all get older. There comes a time when we have to leave the stage. I have no doubt that somewhere in the back of his mind, the PM will start thinking about what sort of a legacy he wants to leave,” Abdullah said.

Asked if he thinks more opposition leaders will be targeted by the central agencies in case Prime Minister Modi secures a third term, Abdullah said, “a national newspaper did a front page story about the people who join the BJP suddenly find themselves exonerated. So, this is a reality, it is not something that we are speculating. But it is fine. It is one of the many tools that the BJP has its disposal. So be it.”

Abdullah refused to name anyone as the prime ministerial face of the INDIA bloc saying the question will be discussed when the alliance has the numbers.

“Why is that a concern? Let the people vote, lets get the numbers, we will have a PM. This was not a concern when ‘India Shining’ was being touted and Advani lost the election. But did the alliance not give you a PM? Did that PM (Manmohan Singh) not govern successfully for ten years and did anybody at that time think that Singh will be the PM?” he said.

Abdullah said Singh has been by far one of “our more successful, and one of our more gentlemanly Prime ministers. He was truly a statesman, what you have today, they are politicians.”

“He was right, he is not to be judged by the standards of 2014. History will judge him. Believe me, history will be a far fairer judge of him than perhaps people were in 2014. So, do not worry about a face,” he added.

The former J-K chief minister said he will pull all stops to win the three seats in the region it is contesting as part of the alliance.

“You think our three seats will decide who the PM be? In terms of making the government, much less, in terms of bringing down the government, much more.

“We have seen a single MP bringing down a government. One MP may not make one, one MP can bring one down. So I am not going to get into who is going to be, the most capable, the most dynamic, the one who has right vision for India, he or she should be the national claimant and that is the way it will be,” he said.

Asked if the opposition’s sole motive was to dislodge the NDA from power, Abdullah replied in affirmative, and termed the battle as “INDIA bloc versus the NDA.”

“As far as you say that INDIA bloc’s only agenda is to defeat the BJP, what else do you fight the elections for? Of course, we are fighting the elections to defeat the BJP. But then, the BJP also has an alliance. Are they not the NDA? So, it is INDIA bloc versus the NDA,” he said.


Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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