Mufti’s 100 Days: Omar Celebrates ‘U-Turn Government’

Riyaz Ul Khaliq

KL NEWS NETWORK

SRINAGAR

Omar Abdullah

Omar Abdullah says he is happier because he has not seen ‘Mufti of 2002’ around. He ‘celebrated’ Mufti government’s ‘100 days of failure’ in a press conference in which he spoke for nearly 40 minutes identifying the grey areas which the “government of U-Turns” exhibited so far.

Addressing his first post-defeat press conference, former Chief Minister and National Conference Working President, Omar Abdullah Monday released the “report card” of PDP-BJP government in J&K: “100 Days of the U-Turn Government” saying that he is “much happier now” than the day assembly results were declared in December last year.

“I am much happier now,” visibly excited Omar said commenting on the performance of Mufti led government in J&K in its first 100 days. “Then I was distressed.”

Omar while referring to various “opinions Polls” said that these gave his party 5-7 seats ahead of assembly elections in 2014 but “we went to win 15 and helping two other independents to win”.

“I was happy then as I managed to win my own seat as well,” he said.

He said that the PDP-BJP government has done “biggest possible U-Turns”.

“Ahead of elections, PDP would say only they could stop BJP and BJP would claim of stopping family rule in J&K and later on both did U-Turns and formed a coalition government,” he said. “And they came with Agenda of Alliance.”

He said that the first 100 days of PDP-BJP government has seen “systematic series of U-Turns”.

“On the first day of his government, Mufti Sayeed credited Pakistan and then separatists for success of elections and then, on the floor of state assembly back tracked from his statement,” he said.

“I don’t know this Mufti whom I knew in 2002,” he asserted.

Both the parties, Omar said had promised that they will keep mum on Article 370 but, he added, “every day another BJP politician speaks about abrogation of this Article.” “This is another U-Turn.”

On Separatists

Omar Abdullah said that the Mufti Sayeed Government is doing “same” what his government did.

“When I was in government, Mehbooba Mufti would blame us that thousands of political prisoners are in jails and now same number has changed to 16,” he said commenting on Hurriyat (G) Masarat Alam’s re-arrest.

“Mufti government is doing same what I did; rather they are compounding it,” he said adding, “Mufti went a step ahead of me and sent Masarat Alam to Kotbalwal jail.”

He said that the release of Masarat Alam was “highly publicised”. “Mufti beat the drum of battle of ideas but now people with different ideas are sent to jails,” Omar while ridiculing CM Mufti, said.

“I had thought Mufti would give us something different but they are on same page as we did.” “Mufti is now saying that only 16 persons are lodged under PSA and they include timber smugglers as well.”

Omar refused to comment on Afzal Guru hanging. “I have nothing to say more on Afzal Guru hanging,” he maintained.

Developmental Side

Omar took Mufti government head on saying that he is disgusted that “his government has been replaced by a government which is unable to do anything”.

“The biggest U-Turn Mufti government did is on the relief and rehabilitation of flood victims of valley,” he said. “Mufti would claim of huge flow of money while fixing deal with BJP.”

He said, “only thing which this government did is that it rubbed salt on wounds of flood victims.”

Commenting on Rs 9000 Crore deficit in state treasury, Omar said, “PDP would always allege that NC government is missing on ground and doing nothing; when we did nothing then how is there a legacy of such an amount,” he said adding, “this essentially means that we worked on developmental side and it resulted in the deficit.”

“Faces change but governments run; no new government starts afresh but they take on legacy they inherit from the previous governments,” he said referring to Rs 9000 Crore deficit which PDP alleges is “worst thing they inherited from NC-Congress Coalition”. “But new governments do not complain,” he added.

He said that as a principle opposition in state assembly, NC appeals Government of India to “come forward”. “Please announce a special package for state which includes Rs 44000 Crore Flood relief, development of employment, health sector and tourism.” “PDP-BJP state government has failed,” he said.

Flood Relief Package

Asking state Finance Minister, Economist Dr Haseeb Drabu to “swallow ego and pride”, Omar said that the relief package which his government submitted to Union government last year post September floods was prepared by the same officials which are at helm in Mufti led government now.

“If our assessment is wrong, give us your figures,” he said referring to Rs 44000 Crore flood package his government had submitted to Narendra Modi led government last year. “Every government is well within its right to reject figures but they have to give their numbers as well.”

“The assessment was done by same Chief, Planning, Revenue and other Secretaries and if it is wrong why are these officials continuing in your government then,” he asked PDP-BJP coalition government.

Referring to his tenure, Omar said, “in first six months of my government, I would beg in Delhi with all people concerned and successfully got money.” “But the present Finance Minister on the floor of assembly said that he will stop this begging bowl syndrome and let not himself nor his CM to beg before Delhi,” he said.

“This way,” Omar added, “Finance Minister has made all of us beggars.”

He suggested Finance Minister to go to Delhi and “beg money for people”. “If they can’t go themselves, I will accompany them (CM and Finance Minister),” he said saying that the Finance Minister needed to understand that J&K is not financially sound and is in dire need of special packages.

He said that the present coalition government has done U-Turns on AIIMS establishment as well. “First CM said that AIIMS would be established in Kashmir and then a Minister in PMO said that AIIMS will first come up in Jammu,” he said adding that his party, NC, “has been saying it from day one that AIMMS for valley is most welcome but demands AIIMS for winter capital on the pattern of Central University.” “Show me one statement coming from our Jammu unit which has opposed establishment of AIIMS in Kashmir.”

Omar said, “Give AIIMS to both regions and solve the issue.”

On New Recruitment Policy

Jr Abdullah hit out at MP Mehbooba Mufti saying she left no stone unturned to slam NC-Congress Coalition when it had framed a job policy. “She called it anti-youth and what not. Now same PDP framed a new recruitment which is not only anti-unemployed youth but draconian,” he said adding, “It is similar to one which we had attempted to implement.”

Omar also said that transfers of officials in state take place with the consent or approval of Chief Minister and if the same has led ‘saffronization’ of J&K bureaucracy “CM Mufti owes an answer to this question”.

On AFSPA

On being asked whether he believes that “certain quarters are needed on board” before going for decision by a popular government on removal of AFSPA, Omar replied, “Unless you get Union Ministry of Defence on Board, no one can remove AFSPA.”

He went on to ridicule PDP on the promise of removing of the controversial law within 100 days of coming to their power.

“As I said there have been series of U-Turns by PDP, AFSPA removal claim is one among them,” he said. “First they leaked as PDP has been only leaking than substantiating their claims that once they will come to power AFSPA will go in first 100 days.”

He said that PDP changed its statement saying that they will get a ‘particular date’ for its removal and now, “they are saying Union government will take the final call”.

On Pakistan Flag Controversy

Omar said that the controversy over waiving of Pakistani flags in valley was “media creation”.

“You (Media) people come to us and ask for our comments on different things; stop coming to us and these things shall stop,” he said referring to hour long debates on these issues on NEWS channel in mainland India.

Replying to a query whether he is “negating his grand-father’s legacy”, Omar replied, “I have nothing to do with Pakistan; why should our party have a stand on it (Pakistan Flag Waiving). Our concern is J&K.”

“Phenomenon of flags is not new but it suddenly happened with coming of this government,” he said referring to his tenure as Chief Minister saying, “we witnessed huge number of Pakistani flags.” “But,” he said, “these incidents have huge consequences on Kashmir tourism.”

Omar Abdullah 1

On State Flag Day

Omar said that National Conference has been at the forefront in highlighting and using the symbols associated with the state of Jammu and Kashmir. “As a citizen, Er Rashid has a right to unfurl state flag on June 07,” he said adding that NC doesn’t need lessons from him rather, he said, “it is a lesson for PDP and state government which issued an order in March directing state authorities to use state flag and then withdrawing it over night.”

“Can we ask this government on the completion of 100 days in office about the enquiry it had promised to hold in State Flag Order issue,” he said.

He further said that the matter about using State Flag is in High Court and still pending. “Let us wait for the decision.”

Evacuation of Residents in Jammu Forests

Replying to queries on the evacuation of people from certain pockets of Jammu forests, who are majorly Muslims, Omar said that his party “would be happy to support government in clearing the illegal occupation of forests in state”.

“If state government wants to put in place systematic reclamation of illegally occupied forest land, we would support it but they are not doing it,” he maintained.

“But it is not to be selective,” he said and added, “we will highlight it when needed and if more, we will oppose the move.”

He further said that with PDP-BJP forming coalition in state, the “divide” between Jammu region and Kashmir Valley is only furthering. “As PDP has no stakes in Jammu, BJP has nothing to lose in Valley, so if this dispensation continues, the divide with deepen in state.”

Omar said that his party has always been opposing such moves and they will continue.

Modi’s 1 Year in Office for J&K?

Omar Abdullah said that the Union government failed the people of Jammu and Kashmir particularly post September 2014 floods.

“I am glad that other part of Kashmir did not accept help from  PM Narendra Modi,” Omar said narrating PM’s visit to J&K after 2014 September floods and how he had offered help to PaK. “I was standing next to him; if they would have accepted the offer they would have been only waiting.”

Notably, the personal security cops of former CM who were guarding the venue checked all the belongings of some reporters who attended the press conference; even the laptops were asked to switch on by them!

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