SRINAGAR: In separate interactions with media, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah addressed the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) avoidance of assembly elections in the region. The leaders expressed their concerns over the delay in announcing assembly elections and questioned the motives behind such actions.
Omar Abdullah, who also serves as the National Conference Vice President, openly questioned the BJP’s reluctance to hold assembly elections. “We have heard about upcoming Panchayat elections, Urban Local Bodies (ULB) polls, and Parliamentary elections. However, the bigger question remains – why is the BJP evading the announcement of assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir?,” Omar told reporters. “Let the party face the people and gauge their standing in the region.”
Highlighting recent developments, Omar emphasised the party’s victory in a legal battle regarding the use of the plough symbol for the National Conference in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) elections.
“We want to fight elections under our party symbol ‘plough.’ The Ladakh administration initially contested this, but the single bench ruled in our favour,” he said. “Even after a challenge was filed before the division bench, we emerged victorious. Our legal team is prepared to face any challenge, even if it reaches the Supreme Court.”
Farooq Abdullah, the National Conference President, echoed his son’s sentiments during an event where several new members, including Block Development Council (BDC) Sherpathri and BDC Ganderbal Block, joined the party.
In his address, Farooq Abdullah stressed the importance of a strong National Conference for the well-being of Jammu and Kashmir. He welcomed the new members and encouraged them to contribute to the party’s inclusive political philosophy, which has been instrumental in fostering unity among diverse communities in the region.
“A robust National Conference is crucial not only for regional development but also for preserving Jammu and Kashmir’s unique identity,” Dr Abdullah said. “Our party’s strength comes from the grassroots level, and we must harness this support to benefit all sections of society, irrespective of differences.”
Both leaders highlighted the party’s commitment to pluralism and its role as a binding force between different regions and religions. They underscored the importance of countering divisive forces and working towards the betterment of all citizens.
With speculation swirling around the revival of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ahead of the 2024 general elections, Omar Abdullah took a proactive stance. He suggested that winning the upcoming polls might not be as straightforward as some believe, and hinted at the National Conference’s independent position in the political landscape. He alluded to the reluctance of several parties to oppose the abrogation of Article 370 and indicated that discussions on a pre-poll alliance in Jammu and Kashmir would be premature before the assembly elections are announced.