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Omar dares BJP to declare its CM candidate for J&K

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Rules out pre-poll alliance for Assembly elections

Jammu, Dec 10: NC leader Omar Abdullah Monday ruled out a pre-poll alliance with any party for the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections, saying his party had joined hands with the PDP and Congress to “save the state”.

He also dared the BJP to declare its chief ministerial candidate for Jammu and Kashmir ahead of elections to Legislative Assembly, saying it had lost face and credibility among people of Jammu by indulging in rhetoric and false claims.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had on November 21 staked claim to form a government with the backing of rival National Conference (NC) and the Congress. Another bid came from the People’s Conference which claimed the support of the BJP and 18 MLAs from other parties.

After these developments, Governor Satya Pal Malik abruptly dissolved the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on the night of November 21.

“We will fight the (Assembly) election on our own… When we talk about forming the next government on our own, then there is no scope of leaving any seat for anyone, even as I know they are eyeing some seats,” Abdullah said Monday while addressing NC district and block presidents and secretaries of the Jammu region at party headquarters here.

Defending his party’s decision to join hands with the PDP and Congress to stake claim for the government formation, the NC vice-president said it was a difficult decision, taken to save the state after fighting as bitter rivals in the 2014 elections.

“This was a hard decision that had been taken in the larger interests of the state and the people, as the proposed BJP partnered government would have indulged in weakening the constitutional position of Jammu and Kashmir and dividing its people on the basis of region and religion,” he said.

“We decided to do something to save the state, to strengthen the communal harmony and brotherhood, to restore peace – it was not an easy decision. I was aware that my party will suffer politically due to this decision,” he said.

Claiming that he “chose the state over his party”, as it was for the betterment of Jammu and Kashmir and its people, Abdullah said the NC was to extend support to the PDP and Congress from outside and the government was to run for the time-being till the situation gets back to normal for holding of fresh elections.

He called for holding of Assembly polls in the state along with the general elections next year, and also challenged the BJP to announce its chief ministerial candidate while accusing the saffron party of betraying the people of Jammu region who had given it 26 seats in the last state elections.

“The BJP’s bravado to have its own chief minister from Jammu fell flat twice, first by stitching alliance with 28-member PDP in 2015 and later while unsuccessfully attempting to form the government by surrendering before a party with two MLAs from north Kashmir,” Omar Abdullah said.

“With which face the BJP will now go to the electors of Jammu in upcoming elections, who know that after seeking their mandate they will again fall in the trap and lap of a few MLAs from Kashmir to share the power,” Omar said, hoping that “the sagacious voters of Jammu will show them their place for having deceived them during nearly three and half years of misgovernance– full of corruption, chaos and mess”.

The NC vice-president said the BJP was rattled over imminent defeat and rejection by the people of Jammu and was in the look out of alibis on security front to have the elections delayed.

“How can the situation be conducive for holding the ULB and ongoing Panchayat polls with minimal voter participation in many areas and not the assembly elections?” he asked, saying the same BJP will find the situation quite right when it comes to elections to Lok Sabha.

He called for early elections and handing over the reins of governance to people.

“We have started selection of candidates for the state polls. The only condition is, give me a candidate who can win. There may be some seats where we have no chance, but there are seats which we have been winning and the time has come to take these seats back,” the former chief minister said.

He said the BJP claimed that the plan to form the government was orchestrated in Dubai and London at the behest of Pakistan.

“We were not the one. But the second letter (from Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone) came from London,” Abdullah said.

“When I asked him (Ram Madhav) to prove (the allegation), he took his words back, because he was caught in his own lies,” he said.

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav had on November 22 withdrew his words after a furious Omar Abdullah dared him to prove his allegation that his party had tied up with the PDP to form government in Jammu and Kashmir at Pakistan’s behest.

Abdullah said the PDP-Congress-NC combine had the numbers and there was no scope for horse-trading or any other malpractice here, unlike the BJP-supported group which had only 28 MLAs together.

The Governor claimed that there were horse-trading attempts, he said and asked the BJP where did the other MLAs required to form the government came from.

“I can say with authority that the MLAs got threats from agencies. One MLA was told that either be part of the government for two years or prepare for arrest by NIA.

“Another senior MLA was threatened that a CBI case against him will be opened. This is the problem – those who are not able to come from the front door, are trying to grab the power by breaking the back door like a thief,” Abdullah said.

“The compulsion when they (BJP) handed over the chief minister post to Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is understood as they had 26 MLAs while the PDP had 28. But how they can justify bringing a chief minister from a two-member party?” he asked.

The NC vice-president claimed that the BJP will face drubbing in the next Assembly elections given the mood of the people.

“When the bugle for assembly elections is sounded, we will emerge winners. Our strategy will be – to highlight the failures of the previous government and to reach out to the people and make them aware about the programmes and planning of the party for different sections of the society, besides focusing on basic amenities like water, power and roads,” Abdullah said.

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