My party is here to stay as people are eager to join: Sajad Lone

Two days after Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved the state assembly; People’s Conference (PC) chairman Sajad Gani Lone addressed a presser in Srinagar to announce his party’s expansion plans. Sitting next to Lone was former minister and PDP rebel Imran Raza Ansari, who recently joined PC. “New faces will join the party soon,” said Lone welcoming Ansari into the party fold.

Sajad Gani Lone and Imaran Raza Ansari during a press conference in Srinagar on November 23, 2018. KL image by Bilal Bahadur

Taking a dig at NC and PDP, Lone said since last five months they were asking (the Governor) to dissolve the assembly. “And when it was done, they started expressing outrage,” said Lone. The decision to dissolve the assembly was taken after Sajad Lone and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti staked claim to form a government in the state.

Lone said that whatever he talks, he talks the same everywhere. “There will be no change in my speech whether I am in Delhi or Srinagar,” said Lone.

Lone claimed that there are many people who want to join his party. “We have the numbers and they are in the line of joining the party. We are not going to hide anybody, whoever joins us they will be open to all.”

Talking about the current situation in Kashmir, Lone said that, “it is not a normal place, there is destruction and killings on every alternate day; nobody knows who is with whom”.

Accusing Mehbooba of betraying people, Lone said most of the leaders in PDP have themselves come from other parties. “We are introducing new faces and Ansari is part of that change,” said Lone.

Imran Razi Ansari, who sat next to Lone, said both NC and PDP have looted the public money when they were in power. “Farooq Abdullah has a house in France, London, with money in crores. Where from he got that much of money?”

Ansari said he has taken a loan from a bank, but how come NC and PDP afford such a luxurious lifestyle? “How did Omar get hundreds of crores? Sheik Abdullah was a teacher, where did he get that money from?”

As Lone had fewer members in his party earlier, he said: “I was a butt of jokes, and have faced humiliation most of the times”. Reacting to a recent serious of tweets between Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, Lone said they were exchanging tweets as if they both are kids, but they both are entitled to it and his party is here to stay.

According to Lone, he met the Governor once but the NC and PDP know him for very long.

Reacting to BJP general secretary Ram Madhav’s allegation of “instructions from Pakistan”, Lone said he can’t comment on this as Kashmir is a political issue and nobody knows who is with which party.

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