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National Conference’s Omar Abdullah Throws Down the Gauntlet: Dares BJP to Contest LS Polls in Kashmir or Face Political Exit

Omar Abdullah Vows to Quit Politics if BJP Doesn't Lose Deposits in Kashmir LS Polls

Srinagar, 12-04-2024 : National Conference (NC) Vice President Omar Abdullah has thrown down the gauntlet to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), daring them to contest Lok Sabha polls in the Kashmir Valley and promising to exit politics if their candidates do not forfeit their security deposits. Abdullah’s challenge, delivered during a press conference where the NC announced its candidacies for the upcoming elections, underscores the heated political climate in the region.

Asserting that if the BJP truly believed in its rhetoric of “development and normalcy,” it should field candidates in all three Kashmir Valley seats, Abdullah questioned the BJP’s allegations against the NC, PDP, and Congress, suggesting that the people should be the judge of their performance. He challenged the BJP to back up its claims on Article 370, development, and normalcy by contesting the elections directly and facing the verdict of the voters.

Abdullah, flanked by his father and NC President Farooq Abdullah, accused the BJP of orchestrating alliances against them, pointing to recent meetings between BJP officials and other political figures in the region. He questioned the BJP’s motives and tactics, emphasizing that if they truly believed in their work, they should not need to resort to such measures.

Taking a strategic move, Abdullah announced his candidacy from the Baramulla Lok Sabha seat, a constituency encompassing his former assembly segment, Beerwah, following delimitation changes. He positioned himself as a contender against the BJP’s alleged proxies, emphasizing the need to thwart New Delhi’s attempts to manipulate regional politics.

Abdullah’s decision to contest from north Kashmir aligns with the NC’s broader goal of countering the central government’s influence, particularly in light of Sajad Lone’s candidacy in Baramulla, seen as an extension of BJP’s interests. With Congress’s support in the valley and reciprocal arrangements for seat-sharing, Abdullah emphasized the NC’s commitment to working together against common adversaries.

Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promises of restoring statehood and holding assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Abdullah expressed skepticism, suggesting that such announcements were not favors but obligations, particularly in light of the Supreme Court’s rulings. He criticized the government’s handling of the statehood issue, highlighting the absence of justification for its revocation.

Abdullah also scrutinized the BJP’s strategies for the Anantnag-Rajouri seat, highlighting the lack of clarity in their approach and their reliance on individuals like Ghulam Nabi Azad, whom he accused of political vacillation. The NC’s candidate for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi, echoed Abdullah’s sentiments, vowing to amplify the voices of the people and uphold their rights, particularly concerning Article 370.

Regarding the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), Mehdi stressed the need for introspection and unity, acknowledging the challenges posed by recent divisions within the alliance. Despite the fractures, Abdullah affirmed the NC’s openness to future alliances for the assembly elections, signaling a willingness to collaborate in the face of shared objectives.