Farooq is frustrated, acting in haste: BJP
10 July 2000
The Times of India
Sant Kumar Sharma
Jammu: ''The BJP has consistently opposed the National Conference and we have always fought against it. The NC was not a constituent of the National Democratic Front (NDA) before the parliamentary elections and it was chief minister Farooq Abdullah himself who went to Atalji and extended support to him,'' state BJP chief Daya Krishna Kotwal said here on Monday. Asked whether the BJP wanted the NC to continue in the Central government, Kotwal said the Prime Minister has already declared that it is for the NC to decide whether to continue in the government or not. However, he stressed that the BJP has never entered into an alliance with the NC in the past nor will it to so in the future. Ingratitude, thy name is National Conference, was a popular refrain in thepast, Kotwal said, adding that the adage needs to be kept in mind when discussing the party. In this context, he cited figures to drive home his point. While the state''s revenue stood at only Rs 1,200 crore, the salary bill of its employees is over Rs 3,200 crore per annum, Kotwal said. ''It was the Centre which provides funds to the state for meeting this deficit. Yet the NC government tries to browbeat the Centre into succumbing to its unreasonable demands,'' he said. Asked whether the Union Cabinet had done the right thing be rejecting the state Assembly''s resolution on autonomy, he said, ''The Union Cabinet had discussed the autonomy report threadbare as it had been lying in Delhi for over a year now. The resolution was rejected because it would have fuelled secession.'' In reply to another question, he said, ''The entire state has been engulfed by violence and there is so much bloodshed going on. This is no time to pick up partisan and divisive issues like autonomy. The need of the hour is unity, not autonomy.'' Commenting on the NC government''s move to implement the regional autonomy committee report which seeks to divide the state into eight parts on communal lines, Kotwal said, ''I appeal to Farooq not to choose the path of confrontation. The BJP will oppose these attempts to communalise the situation. The truth is that Farooq is frustrated today and is acting in haste without giving due consideration to the repercussions of the decisions he is trying to impose on the state.'' State BJP general secretary Nirmal Singh said Farooq would not implement the regional autonomy committee report as this move would evoke very strong anti-government protests in Ladakh and Jammu. ''The BJP would, under no circumstances, allow this report to be implemented as it would, instead of decentralising powers, concentrate them in the hands of the Kashmiri ruling elite.'' Kashmiris have dominated the Jammu and Lakdakh regions for several decades and what needs to be done today is to end this hegemony, Singh said. The state has not held panchayat polls for over two decades now even though the dice is loaded heavily in favour of the ruling party, he said. Instead of elections at grassroots level, the NC framed policies which allow it to nominate people in the elected bodies at all levels, he said. This is the reason why Jammunites and Ladakhis had opposed the autonomy report tooth and nail, he added.