Advani Misrepresented Facts: Farooq Abdullah

25 March 2008

Srinagar: Accusing former deputy prime minister, L.K. Advani, of misrepresentation, the patron of the National Conference, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Tuesday said that his party would prefer to put an end to its existence than surrender on autonomy. 'Even if I have to die in jail, I will not surrender,' he said. Abdullah summoned an emergency press conference on Monday evening to react to the disclosures about autonomy and the National Conference made by former deputy prime minister, L K Advani, in his memoirs, My Country, My Life. The National Conference was an ally of Advani's party, the BJP, in the erstwhile National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the centre. Abdullah said that Advani's accusations were totally baseless, and that he was dismayed that he could use misrepresentation to such an extent. 'After passing the autonomy resolution in the assembly, we presented five copies of the document to the home ministry through intelligence sources, but when I next went to New Delhi, I was told that the ministry had not received the document,' he said. 'I then personally presented a copy to the home ministry, but the then prime minister called me to Delhi and plainly refused to accept the autonomy demand,' he said. Abdullah said that most central ministers had been favorably disposed to autonomy, and he had urged Vajpayee to study the document before forming an opinion. 'But Vajpayee rejected the document without studying it, and told me that the state's autonomy was unacceptable to the centre,' he said. 'Later, a party meeting was held in Srinagar, deciding to part ways with the NDA, but in the meantime my mother passed away,' he said. 'When Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani came here for condolence, they told me not to take any wrong step saying that the autonomy issue was under consideration,' he said. 'It was to study the autonomy issue that responsibility was entrusted to K C Pant, and on the Kashmir issue the central government had gone to the extent of saying that it would grant anything short of independence. But later the central government reneged on the promise,' he said. According to Abdullah, the central government was in fix about what it would give the separatists if it gave NC the autonomy. In reply to a question, Abdullah said that the National Conference (NC) would prefer to die than surrender on autonomy, and would never compromise. 'No matter who comes as prime minister, I would rather die in jail than surrender,' he said.