Day After, Omar Abdullah On Why He Went Along With Rival Mehbooba Mufti


A day after backing his rival Mehbooba Mufti’s bid to form government in Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah said he had agreed to the alliance, knowing it would cost him politically, only to save the state from its “current mess” and uncertainty.

“We didn’t favour an alliance with PDP (People’s Democratic Party),” said Omar Abdullah today, making it clear that the partnership of opponents was a limited-time offer.

“We wanted elections much earlier. We wanted things to be cleared earlier, but that was not being done. We finally decided to give outside support to them,” said the National Conference leader.

He said he had turned down the offer to be chief minister of the alliance.

“We were asked for a letter of support by the PDP, but I said I can only take a decision after consulting my party, so we told them that we would need a day or two to get that organized,”  Mr Abdullah said, adding, “We would have probably given that letter today.”

Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, both former chief ministers and rivals for years, have always taken potshots at each other on social media.

Their bonhomie yesterday, soon after Mehbooba Mufti staked claim to power claiming the support of Mr Abdullah’s National Conference and the Congress, was riveting on social media.  

“Knowing that partnering with the PDP could be the most harmful to our party, we took the step to safeguard the state,” he said.

The Mehbooba Mufti-Omar Abdullah alliance had been seen by many as the prototype of a grand alliance of parties against the BJP in the 2019 national polls. “Nobody ever suggested we would be fighting elections. I don’t in any way believe all three fighting elections together can make situation in Jammu and Kashmir better,” he said.

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