Majid Kapra

Omar dares Guv to make public reports of horse-trading

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Says NC backed PDP to save J&K from uncertainty; mocks at Governor’s fax machine explanation

Srinagar, Nov 22: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah Thursday dared the Governor to make public reports about horse-trading in government formation in the state and demanded an apology from BJP’s Ram Madhav for alleging that the alliance with the PDP was at Pakistan’s behest.

Regretting PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s refusal to his alliance offer in 2014, Omar said had the alliance been formed then, situation in the state would have been different at present, and then went on to claim that this time around his party backed PDP in staking claim to form a government to save the state from its “current mess” and uncertainty.

Earlier in the day, defending his decision to dissolve the State Assembly, Governor Satya Pal Malik claimed “extensive horse-trading” was going on and it would have been impossible for parties with “opposing political ideologies” to form a stable government.

Reacting to this, Omar said “if the governor has himself accepted that MLAs were being bought over, money was changing hands, people should know who was doing it. If the governor has such reports, he should make them public.

“These are not our accusations. It was the governor who said horse-trading was happening and money was changing hands. We want to know where did this money come from? We want to know at whose behest this money was being given and who was being bought?” Abdullah told reporters here.

He said allegations of use of money and horse-trading cannot apply to the NC-PDP-Congress grand alliance.

“The governor said horse-trading and use of money for engineering defections had to be stopped. In our case, three parties (PDP, Congress and NC) came together. This accusation does not stand against us that money was used here.

“Following our letter (PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s letter to governor), another letter was sent to the governor claiming support of 16 or 18 MLAs. The governor has said on this letter that this is horse-trading and money was changing hands. This cannot be ignored,” he said without naming Lone.

On allegations by some BJP leaders that the alliance was formed at Pakistan’s behest, he asked BJP national general secretary Madhav to produce evidence or apologise.

“If you have the courage Ram Madhav, bring the proof of your accusation to the people’s court. Let us see where you stand. Stop this politics of cowardice.

“We have seen a lot of people like you who indulge in shoot and scoot politics. You level baseless allegations and then lie low. You should either give proof of allegations or apologise,” he said.

BJP leaders are disrespecting the sacrifice of nearly 3,000 NC workers, who were killed for refusing to do Pakistan’s bidding, Abdullah said.

“I am sorry Madhav, you are disrespecting sacrifices of my 3,000 colleagues who refused to dance to the tunes of Pakistan. They died because they did not take instructions from across the border.

“More of my workers have died in these 30 years than your workers have ever died. You are asking us about sacrifices and what we have done for the country. What we have done we know it,” he said.

For the NC, power has never been its aim and it does not want to be part of the government, but lend outside support to safeguard Article 35-A of the Constitution before the Supreme Court, the former chief minister said.

“We weren’t going to be part of this government. We wanted that Article 35-A be defended in the Supreme Court to protect the state’s special status. We want to bring the state out of the present mess, knowing fully well that the NC would have suffered the most politically. But we kept party interests on the back burner in the state’s larger interest,” he said.

The NC leader said, “The governor gave reasons for not accepting the claim by the PDP. He said parties were different political ideologies were coming together. Did you ask this question in 2015 when the BJP and the PDP tied up? That time it was dubbed as coming together of north pole and south pole, you had no problems then.

“Today, you are telling other parties that you cannot come together even though the difference on some important issues between PDP, NC and Congress are small compared to BJP and PDP,” Abdullah said.

On if his party would challenge the Assembly’s dissolution in court, he said the NC did not have a reason.

“We don’t have any basis on which to challenge the governor’s decision. The primary party that can challenge the decision is the party which had sent the letter (staking claim for government formation). The letter went from the PDP to the extent that the NC had verbally committed its support and we stand by that decision,” he said.

In a sarcastic remark over non-functioning of the Raj Bhawan’s fax machine due to which Mehbooba’s and Lone’s letters could not be delivered to Malik, he said, “This is the first time that a fax machine has scuttled democracy!”

“The fax machine was put on outgoing mode to issue dissolution orders only — this issue must be investigated as to why the machine was functional for outgoing purposes only and not for incoming messages.”

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