April 2017 News

Srinagar Bypoll: Farooq Abdullah Wins, Says Impose Central Rule For 'justice'

15 April 2017
The Indian Express
Bashaarat Masood

Srinagar: RETURNING to Parliament with his victory in the Srinagar bypoll, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Saturday demanded dismissal of the PDP-BJP government and imposition of Governor's rule in the state. With his win a setback for the PDP, the former J&K CM said, 'In this election, eight people were killed, were martyred. In this election, many people became target of bullets - hospitals are filled with them - were put behind bars. I haven't seen such an election in my life where such would be the situation. It is unfortunate that the government is not reacting.' Seeking the government's dismissal immediately after the results were announced, Abdullah said, 'I appeal to the governor (of Jammu and Kashmir), I appeal to the President of India, that this government should be dismissed. Governor's rule should be imposed where people feel some relief. It is also important that the elections (by-polls) that are to be conducted in Anantnag should be conducted under the supervision of the governor. We can't see people getting justice under them (the PDP-BJP government).' In the 2014 general elections, the NC chief had lost to the PDP from the seat by a huge margin. The bypolls were necessitated by the resignation of the winning PDP candidate, Tariq Hameed Karra, from the seat and Parliament, accusing the PDP of selling out to the BJP. Karra, who was one of the founding members of the PDP, campaigned for Abdullah in the polls. In its campaign, the NC-Congress combine termed a vote for the PDP as equivalent to a vote for the RSS. The April 9 bypoll, however, would be remembered for the record low turnout and violence. Onlly 7.14 per cent people voted, with Abdullah eventually defeating the PDP's Nazir Ahmad Khan comfortably by 10,558 votes. Abdullah secured 47,927 of the 88,831 votes polled. The seven other candidates in the fray together secured only 2,606 votes, while 929 votes exercised the right to NOTA. While the contest was keen in several Assembly segments of the Srinagar constituency, Abdullah scored big in Budgam and Kangan, where mostly Shia and Gujjar voters came out to vote, respectively. Khan was ahead in Khansahib Assembly segment. The former CM dismissed rumours that he would resign after winning, saying what would he then tell voters, who came out, 'with all the pressure on them'. Asked about the 'legitimacy' of his win, Abdullah said, 'How does it (the low voting percentage) matter? We have seen polls before too where hardly any percentage (of votes were polled). It doesn't make any difference. What do you say to people who voted, even if they were only 7 per cent, with all the pressure on them, with all the letters dropped on them?' He added, 'There are rumours that Farooq Abdullah is going to resign. I have not said anything like that and I wouldn't say. Farooq Abdullah has a party. The party's high command would meet and would decide what to do.' Abdullah also pitched for a dialogue between India, Pakistan and Kashmir, saying wars are not going to solve any problem. 'Our endeavour would be that talks are initiated with Pakistan and we have been time and again requesting India that there is no other way than dialogue,' he emphasised. 'Wars don't resolve anything. Nothing can be achieved through wars. Four wars (between India and Pakistan) were fought, but the Line (of Control) is still there. That's why talks should be again initiated.'