Putting on a brave face while addressing a meeting of party members in Srinagar, the National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said his party was ready to face whatever challenge was thrown at it, but in the same voice he derided those politicians who, in his words, were out to form more political groupings that he felt would weaken the voice of the people of the state.
“We are not among those people who will be scared away by (formation of) any third front or fourth front or fifth front. Go and make as many fronts as you want. We have faced so many fronts…but such acts which will weaken their voice people need to ponder upon it,” said Omar, addressing party’s provincial committee meeting for Kashmir province here.
Omar said no single party has a right over politics in Kashmir and every person has a right to seek trust and faith of people to form a party and fight elections and become Chief Minister.
“But subverting democracy through machinations and covert arrangements with the powers that be is a sin and contempt to aspirations of people,” Omar said.
Following the demise of the PDP-BJP government on June 19 and the imposition of Governor rule, the BJP is reportedly in touch with rebel MLAs from PDP to stitch a new political formation in which Peoples Conference’s Sajad Lone, an ally of the BJP, could have a key role.
Don’t be under misconception that we are afraid of anything. There are rumors being spread (about National Conference) to try that we start doubting our own members. National Conference is a party that has withstood more conspiracies than historians can record. We have always fought against intrigues and ploys to weaken our resolve to be voice of people. We will continue to fight with same spirit and will defeat those who are inclined towards fooling and betraying people of the state,” Omar said.
The National Conference leader hit out at the former Chief Minister and the PDP president Mehbooba Mufti over her recent remarks that if New Delhi tries to intervene and break her party it will revive militancy in Kashmir.
“The militancy was already revived during your (Mehbooba) time. More than 207 militants were killed in 2017. How did they become militants? A university professor joined militancy and was killed and an AMU student picked up gun last year. How did they become (militants)? Many in army and police left and became militants,” said Omar.
He termed Mehbooba’s “threat” to Delhi as her “weakness” saying the PDP president knows that without the support of New Delhi, her party can’t survive.
Omar said the PDP wasn’t National Conference which has seen “toughest times”, and lost and won elections but “always stayed together”.
“Your (Mehbooba) party tried to break NC in 2002 but we …were not scared and didn’t threaten Delhi and didn’t knock at their doors. Our strength doesn’t come from Delhi or north block or south block. The strength of NC comes from people of J&K and till people are with us no power can remove or destroy us,” Omar said.
He said Mehbooba’s “assertion” that her party was “punished” for standing up for the rights of people was a “biggest joke”
Omar said it was Mehbooba who oversaw the implementation of “Operation All Out” in 2017 against militants. “One after another civilians were killed but they didn’t oppose it…the crackdowns returned after decades and entire villages were put under crackdown but you didn’t oppose it. When youth were out on roads in 2016 and became victims of bullet, pellet and teargases, instead of regretting such incidents you said those youth were not out to buy toffee and milk but were attacking camps,” said Omar
He said it was during the PDP rule that the state’s internal autonomy was weakened owing to the implementation of various central laws including SARFAESI Act, which allows banks and other financial institution to auction residential or commercial properties to recover loans, GST Act and Food Security Act.
He said the PDP talked about strengthening peace process, dialogue and Indo-Pak relations and protecting the unique position of J&K in Union of India. “But today we see totally opposite happened during past three and a half years,” Omar said.
Days after Governor NN Vohra directed the rural development and panchayati raj Department to begin the process for the holding of panchayat polls in J&K, Omar said the decision to conduct the grassroots level election should be taken after due consideration.