The NDA government’s handling of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir in an ad-hoc and experimental manner has pushed the state several years back, former chief minister Omar Abdullah claimed today.
After a hectic political week, Mr Abdullah feels the BJP is yet to answer many questions, including “why it entered an alliance with the PDP and why it withdrew all of a sudden?”
Another question which the people of the state will definitely be asking is why despite having 26 lawmakers, the BJP decided to lend support to a two-member party (led by Sajad Lone), he said.
With his National Conference already into election mode, Mr Abdullah criticised the BJP over its handling of the political turmoil in Kashmir. “Keeping in mind the 2019 elections, the BJP keeps changing its goalposts, confusing people. They have pushed the state several years back,” he claimed.
Commenting on the alliance of ‘conflicting and contrasting’ ideologies, Mr Abdullah told PTI, “When the BJP and the PDP united, it was stated that the North Pole and the South Pole had come together and an ‘Agenda of Alliance’ had been stitched. Has any of the promises been fulfilled by them? Now see what has happened in Jammu and Kashmir… Look at the present political crisis in the state.”
“Forget about initiating talks with Pakistan, they refuse to hold a dialogue with separatists,” he said.
About the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Mr Abdullah said, “In 2011 or 2012, there was a talk about AFSPA’s withdrawal from some areas, as peace had returned. But, can we say that today. The footprint of the Army and para-military forces has doubled from where we left in 2014, only because all types of experiments were carried out in Kashmir and all of them failed.”
The vice president of the National Conference reiterated his views on the “unceremonious” dissolution of the state assembly by Governor Satya Pal Malik on November 21.
“Till a few days ago, the governor wanted to keep the assembly alive. Overnight, it changed only because the PDP staked claim to form a government with the help of the Congress and my party,” he said.
For the BJP, it seems my-way-or-highway policy but they need to be reminded that India is a democratic country, Mr Abdullah said.
Asked about the Twitter spat with BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav, Mr Abdullah said, “Look I’m a fairly thick-skinned person when I need to be… if he (Madhav) had challenged my patriotism, I would have cared two hoots for his utterances. I don’t need anyone’s certificate about my patriotism, nor will I ever be pressured into wearing it on my sleeves.
Asked whether a third front led by Lone would be a force to reckon with in the forthcoming elections, he said, “Let us see. Let the Centre first announce dates for the assembly elections.”