‘Unfortunate’ that NC contesting in Anantnag-Rajouri seat against friend who turned ‘greedy’: Omar Abdullah

PULWAMA — National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah on Saturday said it was “unfortunate” that his party was contesting elections in the Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary constituency against a friend who turned “greedy” for a Lok Sabha seat.

Abdullah was apparently referring to PDP president Mehbooba Mufti contesting the polls from the seat in south Kashmir. The NC has fielded its senior Gujjar leader Mian Altaf from the seat.

“The fight on the south Kashmir seat is not with the BJP. NC’s contest there is unfortunately with one of our friends who was with us till some days ago. Unfortunately, they left us for the greed of a seat. Our contest at least in south Kashmir is not with the BJP or its ‘B’ or ‘C’ teams,” Abdullah said here.

He was speaking to reporters after addressing an election meeting in support of the party candidate from Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi.

The NC and PDP, who are part of the opposition’s INDIA bloc, were also a part of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), which was formed after of the abrogation of Article 370.

The alliance broke after the NC announced to field candidates from all the three constituencies in the Kashmir valley, without leaving any seat for the PDP. The PDP also later announced to field its candidates on all the three seats.

The NC vice president said while the BJP was not directly contesting the parliamentary polls in the valley, it was supporting parties like the Apni Party and People’s Conference (PC).

“The BJP is in the field contesting elections, but the only difference is they do not have their party symbol, they are contesting on ‘cricket bat’ (Apni Party’s symbol) and ‘apple’ (PC’s symbol)… We are well aware who the BJP supports here, but they stand no chance of winning,” he added.

The former J&K chief minister said going by the response of the people, “I hope that God willing, the NC will win all the three seats.”

In response to a question about the BJP’s claims of the NDA crossing the 400-mark, Abdullah said everything would be clear after the results.

The Ladakh seat is slipping away from their hands, he claimed.

“After the polling yesterday, it seems they will not be able to save the Udhampur seat. Let us see what will happen on the Jammu seat as well,” he said.

Asked about BJP’s J&K president Ravindra Raina claiming that the party will win both the seats in Jammu, Abdullah said, “Let me remind Raina that the elections have not taken place on the Jammu seat yet and we do not even know how many votes will be polled there. Let the voting take place first, then the BJP should claim its victory. As of now, we feel their Udhampur seat is in danger,” he said.

The NC vice president alleged the BJP claimed many things in Kashmir, but fled from contesting the polls in the valley.

“Why did they leave the field? What was their helplessness? Raina was preparing to contest the polls from the south Kashmir seat, but why did he not contest? What compulsion did they have that they had to push other parties be it ‘cricket bat’ or ‘apple’, Abdullah said, adding “these parties were working for the BJP”. — (PTI)