The Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government is leaving no stone unturned to divide India on the basis of religion, the National Conference president Farooq Abdullah said on Thursday, even as he thanked the Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik for dissolving the Assembly on November 21.
Addressing National Conference workers here during a programme organised to commemorate Dr BR Ambedkar’s death anniversary, Farooq said: “Ambedkar’s India belonged to all. He wrote the Constitution which gives every person, irrespective of his caste, creed and religion, equal opportunities. But he, who wrote the Constitution, had to change his religion to Buddhism due to frequent attacks on him. And even after 70 years of India’s independence, not much has changed”.
The British divided India into two nations on the basis of religion. The Modi government in Delhi is also leaving no stone unturned to further divide this country along the religious lines,” Farooq said, and added: “And no one knows how many pieces this country will be further divided into under the BJP rule.”
Addressing the party workers from SC and ST communities, Farooq said: “See the level of hatred being spread by BJP leaders. A police officer was killed by mob over alleged cow slaughter in Bulandshahar and the chief minister of the state was busy watching a Kabaddi match and garnering votes in the name of ‘Bhagwan Ram’. Nobody cared about the person who was a caretaker of law. This is the new India under Modi and BJP rule.”
He said that BJP leaders are using religion in politics “because they failed to deliver what they had promised during poll campaigns”.
“They could not provide, as promised, Rs 15 lakh for every family and two crore jobs. Rather, they broke the backbone of businessmen with GST and demonetisation. Even in J&K, our small scale businesses are at the verge of closure. Here also, a large number of employees lost their jobs after the GST was implemented. This government is responsible for the mess in private sector too,” he said.
‘DAAKU NUMBER 1’
About alleged attempts of horse-trading in J&K recently to make Peoples Conference chairman Sajjad Lone chief minister of the state, Farooq said: “BJP leaders fear losing elections. So they wanted someone from Kashmir to be their chief ministerial candidate. They made all attempts in the last five months but failed when the Governor dissolved the Assembly. They’re daaku number 1.”
“They wanted to loot the state for another three years the way they looted it in partnership with PDP in the past three years. But thank God they failed. I would thank Governor sahib for his decision of dissolving the Assembly.”
‘INDIA IN 4 VALVES OF MY HEART’
Asking the people of Jammu to vote for NC in the coming assembly elections, Farooq said: “You think NC leaders are Pakistanis? I have said it hundreds of times that in all the four valves of my heart you will only find India. The propagandists will come and try to convince you to vote for them but this time you have to vote with maturity and strengthen NC. Only then I will show you what development means.”
“In 1996, J&K had nothing. I gave people schools, doctors, hospitals, roads, buildings and 1.5 lakh jobs. But in 2002, despite having 28 MLAs, we didn’t form the government because I never believe in Aaya Ram Gaya Ram. If you need development, give us clear majority as I never rely on crutches. There are several problems in running a coalition government. Moreover, NC will contest elections on its own. We will not forge pre or post poll alliance with any party,” he said.
Farooq “advised” the Prime Minister Modi to “stop indulging in petty political issues and follow in the footsteps of Pandit (Jawaharal) Nehru and Dr BR Ambedkar”.
“Even if I have not voted for PM Modi but I respect his chair. He should stop resorting to new lows in politics and respect his chair. Sometimes I wonder how he can indulge in petty politics. I’ve seen Ram Manohar Lohia ji openly criticising Nehru and later listening (to him) with patience and improving his political personality. Modi should also follow in the footsteps of these tall leaders.”
Farooq said that Modi should also learn from late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, “who, despite being an RSS man, consulted me before one of his visits to China”.
“Vajpayee, during his China visit, asked me what (issue) he could raise in China on my behalf. I asked him to raise issue of opening of Mansarovar Yatra route and he did. This should be the stature of a tall leader.”
HAILS IMRAN KHAN
The NC president said that he welcomes the decision of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to open the Kartarpur Corridor for the Sikh pilgrims.
“I believe that Imran Khan has good intentions. I also believe that under his leadership, the Kashmir issue would be settled once and for all,” he said, adding that he (Farooq) also wishes to pay obeisance at Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara, Panja Sahib Gurudwara and Muslim shrines in Lahore and Karachi.
‘HOLD EARLY ELECTIONS’
Farooq sought early conduct of elections to Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, apprehending that the BJP may “attempt to get these delayed for the fear of imminent defeat due to its mis-governance and failure in keeping up the promises”.
“Hold elections and the people of Jammu and Kashmir, not New Delhi, will choose the government they want for themselves,” Farooq said, according to a National Conference statement issued here.
He said stable and strong government alone can lead the state to peace and development.
He complimented Governor Malik for dissolving the Assembly and ending the five-month-long “era of confusion and suspense, with BJP desperately trying to manage support for installing a particular person as the chief minister. Even the visit of BJP general secretary Ram Madhav to Srinagar failed to garner support for that person, who had made all the preparations for swearing-in ceremony”.
“By dissolving the assembly, the State heaved a sigh of relief on the prospect of getting rid of a corrupt lot, who indulged in acts of commission and omission for three and half years,” he said.
“Farooq gave a clarion call to the opposition parties across the spectrum to shun their trivial differences and make the ‘mahagathbandhan’ stronger to take on the divisive government in New Delhi,” the NC statement read.
“It is incumbent upon the opposition to unite for the unity of India”, he said adding that the “nation had no threat from China or Pakistan but from the forces inimical to secularism and inclusive ethos of India”.
“He decried the politics of garnering support in the name of religion. He said the politics of hate has done immense harm to the country and belittling political families like Nehrus and Gandhis is a cheap political discourse. He said the two families have had a great contribution in building modern India and the role of Pt Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi cannot be undermined. The family has given many sacrifices for the nation”, he said, adding that “I never nurtured any ill-will against Nehru in whose tenure my father Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah had been imprisoned”.