BJP won’t get even 10 seats in J&K Assembly elections: Omar

Former CM and NC vice president Omar Abdullah addressing party convention at Nowshera on Saturday. -Excelsior/Imran
Former CM and NC vice president Omar Abdullah addressing party convention at Nowshera on Saturday. -Excelsior/Imran

‘EC, BJP both responsible for delay in polls’

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, Dec 2: Former J&K Chief Minister and vice president of J&K National Conference, Omar Abdullah today said that BJP won’t be able to get even 10 Assembly seats in next elections although it claims to grab 50 seats in the Jammu and Kashmir.

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“BJP won’t be able to get even 10 Assembly seats in the next elections in J&K. They know very well about it and are deliberately running away from elections in the Jammu and Kashmir fearing defeat. Although they claim to grab 50 seats in Assembly elections, but they (BJP) will not reach the double figure in next elections,” Omar said while talking to media-persons on the sidelines of party convention at Nowshera in district Rajouri today.
The NC leader said the BJP and the Election Commission of India are equally responsible for the delay in holding Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir. He alleged that the Centre does not want democracy to flourish in the Union Territory of J&K.
Omar defended the party’s stand on India-Pakistan dialogue but said the onus lies on Islamabad for creating a conducive atmosphere for the start of dialogue.
“As long as the Election Commission is concerned, we are repeatedly asking for reasons why Assembly elections are not taking place. Some months back, the Chief Election Commissioner himself said there is a vacuum in J&K and that needs to be filled. Mostly, they say they need to discuss the situation with the Home Ministry and the J&K Administration.
“If the Election Commission is not holding the polls that means it is not getting the approval and if that is the case, it means the BJP is not willing to hold elections in Jammu and Kashmir. We are holding both the BJP and the Election Commission guilty as they have responsibility to hold the elections here,” former Chief Minister said.
On being asked about his party’s stand on talks with Pakistan, Omar said, “We have not asked for the talks but it was BJP’s tallest leader and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who asked for maintaining friendship with Pakistan by telling that ‘you can change friends, but not neighbours’.”
Omar said he has always said that the onus for resumption of dialogue between the two countries lies with both of them. “Pakistan has to address our concerns for creating an atmosphere for the dialogue. What is wrong in saying this? We are not going for a sell-out.”
“We are repeating only what Vajpayee had said. We are talking about democracy, humanity and Kashmiriyat. When we talk about democracy, we are repeating what Vajpayee left as inheritance with us. I don’t see any wrong in repeating it,” Omar asserted.
Earlier, addressing party convention, the NC leader alleged that democracy is being muzzled in the Jammu and Kashmir. “This is for the first time that I am seeing a Government at the Centre which does not want democracy to flourish in J&K,” he said, adding that this Government does not want the people to exercise their franchise and form a Government of their choice.
Omar said Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was over in 2018 and 2023 is also at its fag end but democracy is nowhere in sight. He said much talked about grassroot democratic institutions like the Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies have either finished their tenure or completing by next month.
Highlighting the role of the NC, Omar said the party has always favoured flourishing of democratic institutions even at a time when Pakistan-sponsored terrorists were making all out attempts to finish the party by targeting its cadre.
“What is our fault that we did not fell for your slogans, not got divided on the name religion, kept alive the chants of ‘Hindu-Muslim-Sikh’ unity and did not allow the hatred to take its roots,” he said, adding “our fault is that we believe that India is strong as long as different communities are united”.
Taking a dig at the J&K Administration for keeping around 6,500 posts vacant in Police Department and thousands in other Government departments, Omar said the reality is that this Government has not benefited anyone.
The convention was organized by party’s Central Secretary, Surinder Choudhary. Senior leaders present on the occasion included- Ali Mohd Sagar, Mian Altaf, Ajay Sadhotra, Nasir Aslam Wani, Rattan Lal Gupta, Javed Rana, DDC Chairman Rajouri Naseem Liaquat, Yashuvardhan Singh and others.
Meanwhile, Omar Abdullah along with party leaders also visited the house of party leader- Shamsher Singh at Sunderbani to condole the death of his young son, who passed away recently.