Omar Tears Into PDP-BJP Alliance, Charges Mufti With Taking U-turn

19 March 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Former Chief Minister and National Conference working president Omar Abdullah today launched a blistering attack on Chief Minister and PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in the Assembly charging him with compromising the ideology of his party to form coalition Government with the BJP against whom he had spitted venom during campaign for the Assembly elections. In 50 minutes hard hitting speech, his first in the Assembly as an opposition MLA, Omar charged the Chief Minister with securing 'personal favours' like the chair of the Chief Minister for six years and more Cabinet berths than the BJP instead of gaining something for Jammu and Kashmir like Rs 44,000 crores worth package for flood victims and withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Speaking in the presence of Mufti Sayeed in the House during debate on Motion of Thanks to Governor's Address, Omar said the PDP had created terror especially among the Muslims about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP to secure votes and then suddenly took U-turn within two months not only to repeatedly hug Modi but also form the Government with his BJP. He quoted statements of Mufti Sayeed and his party during the election campaign, which, he said, ran quite contrary to the PDP joining hands with the BJP to form coalition Government in Jammu and Kashmir. Omar cited a statement made by Mufti Sayeed at Pulwama on November 18, which reads: 'RSS introducing poisonous rhetoric and BJP won 3 Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir by communal polarization'. He quoted more statements of Sayeed made in Anantnag 'Divisive agenda of BJP can be checked by decisive mandate to BJP' and 'The Prime Minister is very ill-informed and is promoting culture of character assassination'. 'The Prime Minister, who is ill-informed and promoting character assassination in November, suddenly became a good man in February-March for Mufti Sayeed that he repeatedly started hugging him. One can change after six years or even one year but here Modi changed for Mufti within two months,' Omar said taking a dig at the PDP-BJP alliance. He went on to ask Sayeed: 'whether RSS and BJP have now become less communal? Whether Babri Mosque demolition and 'Ghar Waapsi' programme were right or wrong? Whether a particular word used for particular community by the BJP is alright?' Charging the Chief Minister with getting concessions for himself and not for Jammu and Kashmir in 'Agenda of the Alliance' from the BJP, the National Conference Legislature Party leader said he (Mufti Sayeed) took for himself the chair of the Chief Minister for six years and more Cabinet berths for the PDP than the BJP but took no assurance from them that the Centre will fully fund Rs 44,000 crores worth flood relief package for Jammu and Kashmir or start withdrawal of AFSPA from the State. He charged the PDP with having double standards and fooling the people of the State on variety of issues including entering into an alliance with the BJP. 'You used BJP in the elections Not because you want to form the Government with them but for seeking votes from people so that BJP is stopped from coming to power in the State,' he said. 'Your leaders gave categorical statements that there would be no alliance with BJP. However, the situation has reversed today for the sake of power,' Omar said. 'How suddenly things changed and your outlook changed in January and everybody turned out to be good for you. I want to seek replies from you (PDP) about this alliance,' he said. Blaming PDP of a U-turn, Omar said they changed their stance within few months. 'You have no credibility. You have formed the Government with the people against whom you raised fear psychosis among people during elections,' he added. The former Chief Minister further said that Mehbooba Mufti in an interview had said about no to truck with BJP and try to keep faith of people with their agenda. 'For this alliance, you have left the people as well as your agenda. One of the statement can be true both cannot be true. Have BJP and RSS become less communal'. 'Has their role changed. Has there talks changed and have their designs changed. Have you suddenly forgotten the killings of 2002. When Mufti sahib will reply, we want to hear from you. Whether in 2002 what happened was wrong? was Babri Masjid demolition right or wrong? Was statement of BJP leader on mosque right do you agree with me', he said. 'We have not lost because when haven't undertake any development. We did a lot. But only thing is that we could not understand the emotions of the people. Omar also hit out at Mehbooba's public speech at Kupwara on November 13, in which she was quoted as saying 'we won't have any truck with BJP Their agenda is very divisive. They want to pit Gujjar against Pahari, Jammu against Kashmir, Muslims of Kashmir against Hindu India. She gave similar statements in a newspaper. On the issue flood relief package of Rs 44,000 crore approved by his Cabinet and sent to the Centre, Omar said it had no mention in the Presidential address, Union Budget and Governor's address here and now he is 'expecting its mention in State budget'. Not sparing the BJP either, Omar Abdullah charged the party with trying to fool the people of Jammu on the issue of Delimitation Commission by getting its incorporating in 'Agenda of the Alliance' that the Delimitation Commission will be set up under the law. 'Under the law, the Delimitation Commission can't be set up till 2026. It has been banned by an Act of law in the Assembly. Whom the BJP is trying to fool'?, he asked. He charged the Government with not giving any representation to Ladakh, women and Paharis and several other sections and sub regions in the Cabinet. On being intervened by Minister of State for Education and BJP Nominated MLA Priya Sethi that there were two women Ministers, Omar countered that he was speaking about the Cabinet. It may be mentioned here that Sakina Itoo was Cabinet Minister for Social Welfare in Omar Abdullah Government. He tore into the claims of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed's party who had held his father Farooq Abdullah responsible for imposition of controversial AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir saying he had tried a lot for revocation of the Act and felt it will be started during his rule. 'But it did not materialize. I feel sorry that I couldn't do it. But what did you bring from the Centre in Agenda for the Alliance?' he asked 'If Farooq Abdullah Government took a Cabinet decision and forwarded it to the then Governor who approved it and AFSPA was implemented, you have numbers and support of BJP to reverse the process and start removing AFSPA from some areas,' he said. He was referring to the Governor's Address, which said the State Government will 'endeavor to tell the Central Government to take a final view on withdrawal of AFSPA in some areas'. 'Why the Central Government while you are in power? You have the right to take a final view. If you have really taken the concession from BJP, which I could not get from my coalition partner then you should approve it in Cabinet and send it to the Government to lift it. Do it because BJP is with you now', he said and pointed out that the PDP even has majority in the Cabinet. 'But what is the need for bringing in Delhi into the picture? The thing which I could not do, you should do it. Why did you bring in Delhi? It will give suspicious signals. It is undermining the Chief Minister's institution. Remember you (PDP) always targeted me for what you alleged weakening of the institution of CM. Now what are you doing?', Omar asked. Omar wanted to know whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to change or relax the resolution passed by Parliament in 1994 to facilitate talks with Hurriyat Conference or Pakistan for resolution of Kashmir as the Government has referred to talks with them in the Governor's Address. Terming the talks mentioned in the common agenda of PDP-BJP alliance Government as an attempt to 'befool' people of the State, Omar wondered what kind of talks would take place when the Prime Minister recently reiterated in Parliament that 'all resolutions passed by Parliament will be implemented in letter and spirit.' Parliament had passed a resolution on Jammu and Kashmir on February 22, 1994 which condemned Pakistan's support to terror groups and said the State has been, is and shall be an integral part of India and any attempt to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means. The resolution also demanded Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, which they have occupied through aggression. 'What dialogue you will do?', he asked. Omar asked whether Hurriyat or Pakistan will be ready to come to the negotiation table in the backdrop of this resolution. 'What language are you using in Common Minimum Programme or is it only to play and befool people?', he said. 'Or tell us whether the Prime Minister will go and change the resolution of Parliament? Or relax it? Till some action is not taken on this aspectYour talks are meaningless,' he said. 'If this resolution will be basis for the talks which will be held with Pakistan and separatists -one can get nothing for years as we have been talking for last 6 decades,' he said and asked 'what have you (PDP-BJP) got in the CMP on this?' He also raked up the issue of West Pakistan refugees and asked the Sayeed Government to come clear whether there was a move to give them citizenship of the State. Omar said the common agenda spelt out by the ruling alliance was only aimed at 'fooling' the people of the State. He took a dig at BJP over Article 370 saying 'the special status (of Jammu and Kashmir), which has been eroded (in the past), cannot be further eroded. 'You (BJP and PDP) cannot scrap Article 370 from the State of Jammu and Kashmir', Omar said. He also took on PDP saying the party was projecting BJP's 'silence' on the Article as 'some gift' from BJP. 'It is their (BJP's) compulsion. Even the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was silent on it,' he said. 'BJP knows that they cannot scrap Article 370,' Omar asserted. The NC working president wanted to know from the Government circular regarding hoisting of the State flag along with national flag was withdrawn under pressure from BJP or RSS. 'What was the compulsion for the Government to withdraw it? Had a call come from Nagpur (RSS headquarters)?. I cannot understand the reason for withdrawal,' 'If in haste you issued the circular and later withdrew it, there might have been a phone call you got from anywhere. Is it NagpurDelhi or JhandewalanIt might have come from somewhere?' he said. RSS office in Delhi is located at Jhandewalan while Nagpur is the organisation's headquarters. 'What was the necessity to issue a circular by the Government? We learnt that they had to do it because of the court. If they had issue with it then why was it withdrawn?', he asked. The State Government had issued a circular last week whereby it was mentioned that the State flag will be used along with the national tri-colour by all Government and Constitutional authorities. However, the same order was withdrawn next day citing that the circular had not been vetted by an appropriate authority. 'You said about inquiry There is no need of it. I have been Incharge of GAD, I know the order is issued only after it is vetted from the top,' Omar said and criticised Deputy Chief Nirmal Singh over his allegation of internal sabotage for issuance of the circular. Omar accused Mufti Sayeed of deliberately triggering a controversy by his remarks giving credit of successful polls to Pakistan and Hurriyat to avoid discussion on agenda for alliance Government formulated by them. 'You (Mufti Mohammad Sayeed) did not do any mistake. You made that statement after much of thinking, deliberately, before the press, because you did not wanted that people should discuss CMP,' Omar said. 'When you (Mufti Sayeed) released the agenda for alliance GovernmentYou gave a statementMost of the people were surprisedI thought he does not make any such statements, which he doesn't think several times. But what happened that Mufti sahib gave such a statement concerning elections, and made BJP angry,' he said. Omar alleged that the CM never wanted people to discuss that how this alliance was forged between BJP and PDP. 'You deliberately created that row, that we were forced not to talk about CMP or alliance. Created a row and all were engaged in giving out their statements whether Paksitan has its hand in successful elections or not. Whether Geelani sahib helped you or not, and CMP - your agenda for alliance was lost in that commotion,' he added. Hitting out PDP for double standards, Omar said 'People trust us on track record and credibility. On that you have got the power and promised them to come to their expectation. I want to know from you, on Governor's address and CMP, why should people trust that.' Omar accused the NDA Government of not allowing Kashmiri youths to return to J-K from across the border under return and rehabilitation policy, and urged the Mufti Sayeed Government to ask the Centre to allow their come back. 'Till the UPA Government was in Delhi and our Government here, 350 youths (from across the border) had come back. But since the NDA came to power, none has returned back. They did not allowed even one to come backStopped them,' Omar said. The Omar Abdullah government had formulated a rehabilitation policy for Kashmiri youths who had gone to PoK and Pakistan for arms training, but had shunned militancy. 'I was expecting that your agenda of alliance Government will have a mention of it that people stranded across the border are brought back here. Here, we talked about West Pak refugees, but no mention of them in agenda for alliance or governor's address or anywhere else,' he said. 'They want to return back to their homes and hearthsIf you really want to support them, leave other 'ghar wapsi' programmes and support their 'ghar wapsi'. Bring them back. We want to seek assurance from you,' Omar said. 'Be Nepal route only, you will impress upon the NDA government to continue the policy as per the UPA government,' he said. 'NC and Congress government had got a concession from the Centre. Our people who had gone for (arms) training (across the border) and were not wanting to come with guns, for them we made a rehabilitation policy. As per the policy they were supposed to come via LoC points,' he said. On the issue of firing ranges and lands illegal occupied by Army, Omar said 'we have cleared one firing range from Army during our rule. It is good thing. In fact I want to suggest you one thing if you are serious. In the next year Governor's address, we want to hear in his address that major lands illegally occupied by Army have been vacated'. 'The land illegally occupied by Army in Gulmarg should be vacated. Then we will accept that you are serious. Then we will say that you have done which nobody has done till now. Other it is futile to vacate here and there some land,' he said. Hitting out at PDP and Mehbooba Mufti for her statements of political prisoners, Omar said 'there is no mention of the return of the people from PoK. During our rule, PDP and Mehbooba were saying that there are thousands of people detained by government under PSA'. 'But during her recent conclave in New Delhi, she claimed there are only 16 detained under PSA. You have not even released them. Where have they gone from thousand to a few. One of your MLA from Dooru said 10,000 political prisoners will be released by the government,' he said. 'But the Government is totally silent on the release of political prisoners. Where have these political prisoners gone? how many are political prisoners?' he asked.