Omar Abdullah questions BJP on not fielding candidates from Kashmir

SRINAGAR — National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Friday asked the BJP why it had not fielded candidates from the Kashmir Valley despite claiming to have put Jammu and Kashmir on the path of development following the abrogation of Article 370.

The BJP has not fielded candidates for the Lok Sabha elections from the three seats in Kashmir.

“We will see how many votes the BJP gets in Kashmir (in the assembly elections). If it did such a great service, then why didn’t it nominate even one candidate in Kashmir?” Abdullah told PTI Video after addressing an election rally at Batwara in support of the party’s Srinagar candidate Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi.

The National Conference vice-president was asked to comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks in a TV interview that he implemented the Indian Constitution in Jammu and Kashmir after abrogating Article 370.

Abdullah said the BJP did not field candidates from the three seats in the Valley as “it knows where it stands.”

Earlier, targeting the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) during his address, Abdullah said the people of Jammu and Kashmir have seen representatives who went to Parliament and remained silent.

“It (PDP) sought votes against the BJP and later aligned with it,” he said, referring to the two parties’ post-poll alliance in 2014.

Abdullah said people want a representative who will represent them in Parliament and talk about their rights.

“We want someone who will talk about our dignity and that representative is Aga Ruhullah and the National Conference,” he said as he sought votes for the party’s candidates.

If people want honest, young, and dynamic representatives to become their voice, “then give us (National Conference) a chance”, Abdullah said.

Lashing out at the BJP, he said the party in power at the Centre “snatched away our identity and our land rights”.

“It did not open colleges, universities, or schools. It opened liquor shops. It is forcing youngsters into drug addiction,” he added.

Referring to the prime minister’s remarks about the Congress’ election manifesto, Abdullah said the BJP is talking about ‘mangalsutra’ and land because “it wants to spread hatred”.

“They say Kashmir witnessed prosperity after the abrogation of Article 370. But we are a helpless community. We lost young ones in the boat tragedy in Gandbal (last month) just because the bridge there was incomplete. We (the National Conference) have been out of power since 2014, so why blame us? Who is responsible for the tragedy?” he asked.

On polling for the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency being deferred, Abdullah said the move has made it clear that “it (BJP) fears us”.

Elections to the redrawn Anantnag-Rajouri seat, which was scheduled to go to the polls on May 7, have been postponed to May 25 by the Election Commission.

Srinagar goes to the polls in the fourth phase on May 13. — (PTI)