Prove I’m collaborating with BJP or apologize: Sajad Lone to Omar Abdullah

SRINAGAR — People’s Conference chief Sajad Lone on Saturday demanded that National Conference leader Omar Abdullah prove his allegation that the separatist-turned-mainstream politician is collaborating with the BJP.

Lone also demanded an apology from Abdullah if he failed to prove the allegation.

The separatist-turned-politician is pitted against Abdullah from the Baramulla seat in north Kashmir.

Sharing a clip of Abdullah, Lone said in a post on X, “Dear Omar Abdullah, in this video you say that Sajad Lone openly said ‘I am BJP, I am BJP’ in Kupwara. Can you send me the clip, the venue, date and time when I said it?”

At an election rally in Budgam on Friday, the National Conference vice-president said, “Lone has openly said in a speech in Kupwara that ‘I am BJP, I am BJP, what is wrong in that’. We have been saying this since the first day.” Lone also said he will apologise if Abdullah proves his claim.

“If you (Abdullah) can’t — will you apologise. If you do neither, then you are the eternal tarbaaz (liar),” the People’s Conference chief said.

Later, at a press conference, Lone said since there has been no response from the National Conference leader, Abdullah “formally gets the crown of a liar”.

“This is the limit, we are exploring the ECI (Election Commission of India) rules and, if there is any space, we will write to them that one of India’s heavily protected men — about 200 to 300 men protect the father (Farooq Abdullah) and son — they are making people like us and our workers insecure. What nonsense is this?” he said.

“If there is some space, then we will write to them that let him at least apologise for this lie. You (media) should ask him where I said this. Or whether he has dreamt it or is delusional or has been rattled?” Lone said.

Referring to the National Conference labelling various parties as the BJP’s B and C teams, Lone said most parties in Jammu and Kashmir allied with the saffron party at some point.

“Abdullah seems to think that God has forgiven him and he has got a certificate of forgiveness (for his alliance with the BJP). The BJP is in the periphery in Kashmir, the party got one per cent vote share from north Kashmir and 0.25 per cent from Srinagar in the last elections (in 2019),” he said.

“So, he (Abdullah) thinks that while the BJP got one per cent, its proxies got 60 per cent. I had a notion a year ago that whenever the parliamentary polls are held, the BJP will not field candidates here (Kashmir Valley) because it is the first election after the abrogation of Article 370. This would have been its first moral acceptance or moral rejection. If it had got that one per cent again, then it would have (been) a moral rejection,” he added.

Lone also alleged that the BJP has taken “on rent” many Muslim leaders across India who issue statements that benefit it.

“The father-son duo (Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah) is also on rent — partly they get rent and partly they remain out of jail because there are huge corruption charges. Omar (Abdullah) will label the entire anti-National Conference vote — which would be about 75-80 per cent this time — as BJP votes,” the People’s Conference chief said.

“Remember this then, the BJP will say that what Omar (Abdullah) has said, this is the vote for the BJP, which means moral acceptance of the abrogation of Article 370. It is a shameless thing,” Lone added.

The former separatist leader also called Abdullah a “pappu” and asked why he is scared politically and physically of the People’s Conference. — (PTI)