J&K ASSEMBLY ELECTION: Omar dares BJP to announce CM candidate

National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah Monday ruled out a pre-poll alliance with any party for the Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections, saying his party had joined hands with the Peoples Democratic Party and Congress to “save the state”.
J&K ASSEMBLY ELECTION: Omar dares BJP to announce CM candidate
GK Photo

National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah Monday ruled out a pre-poll alliance with any party for the Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections, saying his party had joined hands with the Peoples Democratic Party and Congress to "save the state".

The PDP had on November 21 staked claim to form a government with the backing of rival National Conference and the Congress. This was followed by another bid from the two-member People's Conference which claimed the support of the BharatiyaJanata Party and 18 MLAs from other parties.

After these developments, governor Satya Pal Malik abruptly dissolved the Assembly on the night of November 21.

"We will fight the (assembly) election on our own… When we talk about forming the next government on our own, then there is no scope of leaving any seat for anyone, even as I know they are eyeing some seats", Omar said, addressing a function at party headquarters here.

Defending his party's decision to join hands with the PDP and the Congress to stake claim for the government formation, the NC vice-president said it was a difficult decision, taken to "save the state."

"We decided to do something to save the state, to strengthen the communal harmony and brotherhood, and to restore peace. It was not an easy decision. I was aware that my party will suffer politically due to this decision," he said.

Asserting that he "chose the state over my party", Omar said the NC was to extend support to the PDP and Congress "from outside" and the government was to run for the time being till the situation got back to normal for holding of fresh elections.

Calling for holding of assembly polls in J&K along with the general elections in the country next year, Omar also challenged the BJP to announce its chief ministerial candidate in the state, while accusing the saffron party of "betraying" the people of Jammu region who had given it 26 seats in the last state elections.

Omar said his party is prepared to face the people, "unlike the BJP which is trying to delay the elections on one pretext or the other, knowing fully that it will face a drubbing in polls".

"We have started selection of candidates for the state polls. The only condition is: give me a candidate who can win. There may be some seats where we have no chance, but there are seats which we have been winning and the time has come to take these seats back," the former chief minister said.

He said the BJP claimed that the plan to form the government was orchestrated in Dubai and London at the behest of Pakistan.

"We were not the one. But the second letter (from Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone) came from London", Omar said. "When I asked him (Ram Madhav) to prove (the allegation), he took his words back, because he was caught in his own lies."

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav on November 22 withdrew his words after a furious Omar Abdullah dared him to prove his allegation that his party had tied up with the PDP to form government in Jammu and Kashmir at Pakistan's behest.

Omar said the PDP-Congress-NC combine had the numbers and there was no scope for horse-trading or any other malpractice here, "unlike the BJP-supported group which had only 28 MLAs together".

The governor also claimed that there were horse-trading attempts, Omar said, and asked the BJP where did the other MLAs required to form the government came from.

"I can say with authority that the MLAs got threats from agencies. One MLA was told to either be part of the government for two years or prepare for arrest by the NIA. Another senior MLA was threatened that a CBI case against him will be opened. This is the problem. Those who are not able to come from the front door are trying to grab the power by breaking the backdoor like a thief," he said. 

"The compulsion when they (BJP) handed over the chief minister post to Mufti Muhammad Sayeed is understood as they had 26 MLAs while the PDP had 28. But how they can justify bringing a chief minister from a two-member party?", he asked.

Omar claimed that the BJP will face drubbing in the next assembly elections "given the mood of the people".

"When the bugle for assembly elections is sounded, we will emerge winner. Our strategy will be to highlight the failures of the previous government and to reach out to the people and make them aware about the programmes and planning of the party for different sections of the society, besides focusing on basic amenities like water, power and roads," Omar said. 

Meanwhile, Omar, according to a National Conference statement, said: "The BJP's bravado to have its own chief minister from Jammu fell flat twice, first by stitching alliance with 28-member PDP in 2015 and later while unsuccessfully attempting to form the government by surrendering before a party with two MLAs from northern Kashmir."

Omar slammed the BJP for "threatening" senior MLAs with NIA and CBI action against them "in a bid to buy their support before the dissolution of the Assembly". 

"This too did not work for them. The reports were substantiated by the statement issued by the Governor about horse-trading in the State", he said, adding that the BJP's "overt and covert attempts were an assault on democracy".

On BJP's alleged communal plank, Omar said that "an atmosphere of fear and mistrust is being created across the country". "Passions are being generated over the issue of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya before the general elections," he said.

'BJP COULDN'T BUILT RAM TEMPLE'

Accusing the BJP of misleading the people, Omar alleged Monday that the party built the tallest statue of SardarVallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat, but could not keep the promise of constructing a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

He said the BJP was reverting to its tactics of arousing religious passions for electoral success ahead of the 2019 LokSabha polls.

"After four and a half years, the BJP is again talking about religion…You have made the biggest statue dedicated to SardarVallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat. You had also talked about a Ram temple but did not keep the promise," he said at an event at the party headquarters here. 

He said a small temple, not the largest in the world, would have worked.

He said the BJP was talking about the Ram temple to mislead the people.

"Now they are propagating it again. The processions are being carried out in Delhi, Mumbai and other places as the party is hearing the bells of defeat in the upcoming LokSabha polls", Omar said.

He said time has changed and now the voters are more interested in measures taken for their welfare than anything else. 

BJP HIDING ITS FAILURES: RANA 

Accusing the BharatiyaJanata Party of "exploiting the issue of Ram temple in Ayodhya for political gains", National Conference's provincial president Devender Singh Rana Monday alleged that the saffron party was using "Lord Ram to hide its failures on core issues".

"From jobs for youth to development of Jammu, all promises of BJP proved as lies. The saffron party betrayed the people who gave them an overwhelming mandate in the last assembly election. Now that it has to face people and answer them, they again brought Lord Ram into limelight in an attempt to hide all its failures," Rana said, addressing a gathering of NC workers at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhawan Jammu.

"The impression is given that Lord Ram is in danger and BJP is projecting itself as a crusader and savior of the Lord," he said, and asked: "Can God ever be in danger?"

"No, God can never be in danger", Rana said and added: "When BJP finds itself in troubled waters and sees difficulty in facing face people, they raise issue of Ram temple to gain emotional strength by bringing in religion into politics." 

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