Farhat Naik

Omar favours fresh elections ‘as soon as possible’

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“BJP can't escape the blame for the deteriorating situation in the state”

Omar said Mehbooba should have resigned from the coalition before with some dignity intact rather than being shunted out.

Srinagar, Jun 19: National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah today favoured Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir and called for fresh elections as soon as possible so that people can choose their own government.

“I just returned from the Raj Bhavan where I met Governor N N Vohra. I told the Governor that NC did not get mandate to form the government in 2014 elections and so we do not have the mandate to form the government in 2018.

“We told him that NC is not discussing government formation in Jammu and Kashmir with any other political party. Neither has anyone approached us nor are we going to approach anyone from here,” he told reporters here.

He said he told Vohra that in this situation when no single party has the mandate to form the government, the Governor has no other option than to impose Governor’s rule immediately.

“He (Vohra) will have to try to improve the extremely bad situation in Jammu and Kashmir. I, on behalf of my party, have assured the governor of full support and we also requested him that governor’s rule should not be there for long because after all, people have the right to choose their own government and we want that the governor and his colleagues to make the situation conducive in the state once again and elections be held once again and whatever people decide in the elections, will be acceptable to all of us,” he said.

Omar said as a responsible political party, it will be the NC’s endeavour to help in normalising the situation and have a peaceful atmosphere in the state especially in the two regions of Kashmir and Jammu.

He said while he was not surprised by the BJP’s decision to pull out from the coalition, the timing of the decision took him by surprise.

“I can’t speak for the BJP, only BJP can answer. I was expecting a pullout, I was expecting this coalition to fall apart but I had expected this to happen a later in the year. I was not expecting it to happen so soon.

“Clearly, over the last month or a month-an-a-half, we have seen a marked and very significant deterioration in the situation in the state and that perhaps is one of the reasons, but beyond that I do not want to speculate as to what was the reason for the BJP,” the NC leader said.

Asked whether the PDP would be embarrassed about the decision, Omar said the least the BJP could have done was to take the PDP into confidence before announcing the decision.

“Whether the PDP is embarrassed or not, I can’t say. Clearly, if we were caught by surprise, so were they. Now, I don’t expect that BJP would have taken us into confidence, but I think it is a little unfortunate that if they work together with the PDP for three years, the least they could have done was take the PDP into confidence about their decision. But difference parties function differently and so be it,” he said.

Omar said the BJP can’t escape the blame as both it as well as the PDP are responsible for the deteriorating situation in the state.

“This is no secret that we have an increase in the violence. They claim increase in radicalisation, they obviously have access to information that I don’t have. But, if this is the reason for their pulling out, then they are as much responsible as the PDP is. The PDP did not govern on its own. The situation has reached where it has today, where we all are suffering, where all of you are working under this shadow of great fear, then obviously they are both responsible for this.

“Both these parties have pushed the state to this precipice and we can only hope that with an able administrator like Governor Vohra who has handled this state in very trying circumstance in the past, that we can begin the process of retrieving this state from the dark abyss that we are staring at,” he said.

Asked about his offer of support to the PDP after the 2014 polls, Omar said that offer expired the day PDP and the BJP joined hands.

“I have told you many a times in the last three years that it was a one-time offer. I am not in a habit of going to parties that I am not invited to. They don’t want my support, why should I be offering them. I am not that desperate,” he said.

Omar said his party was not celebrating the breakup of the alliance but was mourning the demise of democracy in the state.

Asked whether he favored dissolution of Assembly, the NC vice-president said it was the decision that Vohra had to take.

Omar said Mehbooba should have resigned from the coalition before with some dignity intact rather than being shunted out.

“I can’t speculate what happened. I can’t speculate if the killing of Shujaat Bukhari or the end of ceasefire was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. Something happened but it is not for me to speculate that,” he said.

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