National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah Thursday asked the Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik to make public the reports of horse-trading for government formation in the state and order an investigation into such reports.
Omar’s remarks came a day after the Governor defended dissolution of the Legislative Assembly, citing “reports of possible exchange of money to secure support of legislators belonging to diverging political ideologies” for the government formation.
Stating that his party had decided to “lend outside support” to the NC-PDP-Congress alliance to “safeguard special position” of Jammu and Kashmir, the former chief minister called for holding of early Assembly elections in the state while ruling out the possibility of a “grand alliance” in future.
Addressing a press conference here, Omar took a swipe at BJP pointman for J&K Ram Madhav for his remark that National Conference, Congress and PDP were coming together to form the grand alliance “at Pakistan’s behest”, and demanded an apology from him.
“If you have courage Ram Madhav, bring proof of your accusation to the people’s court. Let us see where you stand. Stop this politics of cowardice,” said Omar.
The NC leader said he has seen “lot of people” like Madhav who “indulge in shoot and scoot politics”.“You should either prove your allegations or apologise,” he said.He said the BJP is disrespecting sacrifices of nearly 3000 NC workers by making these “baseless allegations”.
“You are disrespecting sacrifices of my 3000 colleagues who refused to dance to the tunes of Pakistan. They died because they did not take instructions from across the border,” Omar said.Responding to Omar’s reaction about his remarks later, Madhav backtracked on his Pakistan remark.
“Now tht u deny any external pressure I take back my comment, bt, now tht u proved it ws genuine love btw NC n PDP tht prompted a failed govt formation attempt, u shud fight nxt elections 2gether.??Mind u it’s pol comnt, not personal,” Madhav wrote on twitter.
Omar said if the Governor has himself accepted that MLAs were being bought over, money was changing hands, then people have a right to know who was doing it.
“If the Governor has reports, he should make them public,” Omar demanded.
Defending his decision to dissolve the Assembly, the Governor, among other reasons, Wednesday, cited reports of extensive horse-trading and possible exchange of money to secure support of legislators belonging to widely diverging political ideologies just to be able to form a government, as the reasons for the sudden and surprising move.
“These are not our accusations. It was Governor who said horse-trading was happening and money was changing hands. We want to know at whose behest this money was being given and who was being bought?” Omar demanded.
The allegations of use of money and horse-trading, Omar said, can’t apply to NC, PDP or the “grand alliance”.The Governor, he said, was referring to another letter in which Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone had staked claim for government formation.
“He (the Governor) said horse-trading for engineering defections had to be stopped. In our case, three parties came together. This accusation does not stand against us that money was used here. Following our letter, another letter was sent to the Governor claiming support of 18 MLAs and it is on this letter that the Governor has talked about horse-trading and money changing hands. This is a serious charge and it cannot be ignored,” he said.
Following a high-voltage political drama Wednesday, the Governor dissolved the Assembly after both Mehbooba and Sajad staked claim to government formation.
Omar said the NC decided to lend outside support to the alliance to safeguard Article 35A of the Constitution before the Supreme Court and save the state from its “present mess” and uncertainty.
“Our goal was not chair. We knew fully that our party would have suffered the most politically (in this alliance) (but) we wanted that Article 35A should be defended in the Supreme Court to protect state’s special status…we kept party interests on the backburner for the state’s larger interests,” he said, adding that if the “step towards grand alliance was taken in 2015, the State wouldn’t have found itself where it is today”.
Ruling out chances of a grand alliance in future, Omar said at the beginning of talks between NC and PDP, the NC president Farooq Abdullah was offered to lead this alliance as chief minister.
“But he rejected the offer saying when our party will contest the election they will take a call accordingly,” Omar said, adding that he too declined the offer and said he will choose it only when people will vote him to power.
“I don’t believe that National Conference, PDP and Congress fighting elections together will in any way benefit J&K because I believe that legitimate political opposition voices are essential,” he said.
To a question about relevance of mainstream political parties in J&K when they could not form the government even with the required numbers, he said the dissolution of the Assembly “showed the relevance of such parties”.
To a question, Omar said the Governor gave reasons for not accepting the claim by the PDP, saying the three parties were having divergent political ideologies.
“Did you (the Governor) ask this question in 2015 when BJP and PDP formed the alliance? That time it was called as coming together of north pole and south pole and you had no problems,” Omar said.
Today, Omar said, the Governor is telling other parties that they can’t come together even though the differences on some important issues between PDP, NC and Congress “are small compared to BJP and PDP”.
To a query whether NC would challenge the Assembly dissolution in court, Omar said his party doesn’t have the reason to do so as it was PDP which had staked claim to government formation.
“At the most it will be moral support,” said Omar.
During the press conference National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah talked about “non-functioning” of fax machine at Raj Bhawan which saw Mehbooba taking to social media to write that her letter for staking claim to government formation couldn’t be delivered.
“For the first time a fax machine has strangulated democracy. This is a unique fax machine…what kind of fax machine is it that it doesn’t receive fax about letter of claim for government formation but it send the fax about letter of order of dissolution of assembly. This is a one-way fax machine, only outgoing fax, no incoming fax. This fax machine too needs to be investigated,” he said sarcastically.
Omar said once the panchayat polls are completed, the preparations for elections should be made, saying it can at maximum take three to four months to hold fresh elections.