No reason to doubt holding of Assembly elections in J&K: Omar

NC discusses poll preparedness, strengthening party

Fayaz Bukhari

SRINAGAR, July 4: National Conference (NC) discussed the preparations for the forthcoming Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and strengthening of the party ahead of it in its two day long working committee meeting held here.

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NC vice president Omar Abdullah told reporters after the conclusion of the two-day meeting of the NC’s working committee here today that the meeting discussed the prevailing political situation in Jammu and Kashmir, steps to strengthen the organisation and preparations for the forthcoming elections.

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“The committee discussed various concerns, including arrests, misuse of law, rising electricity bills, food prices and the overall harassment of people in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi not mentioning J&K while talking about Assembly elections in some States, Abdullah said there was no reason to doubt that the Assembly polls in the Union Territory will not be held in time.
“Why should we always hope that the PM will talk about J&K? A few days before that, the PM came here, did yoga and assured the people that elections will take place soon and people will elect their Government. After that, where is the scope for doubt?”
“The Election Commission has started its preparations, it has said that elections will be conducted soon. The Home Minister has said the process of election will be concluded before the deadline of the Supreme Court. I do not think there is any scope for doubt, the elections will take place and we are ready for those elections,” he added.
Asked whether the NC will enter into a pre-poll alliance with its INDIA bloc partners, Abdullah said that decision has been left to party president Farooq Abdullah.
“Whatever the president thinks is better, we will abide by that decision,” he said.
Abdullah said that the BJP should change its attitude and stop behaving as if it won 400 seats in the Lok Sabha elections.
“As far as Parliament is concerned, (NC’s Srinagar MP Aga Syed) Ruhullah (Mehdi) himself was a victim of the Speaker’s will. A part of his Speech after the election of the Speaker was expunged because the Speaker was not happy with him. A part of the LoP (Speech) was expunged at the insistence of the BJP. This is not good. Everyone has the right to put forth his views in a democracy,” he said.
The NC vice president said if there are no abuses or improper words in a member’s speech, “then these things should not have been expunged from the records”.
“But who will remind the BJP that while they used to talk about 400 (seats), they could not cross 240. The BJP should change its attitude to some extent. They talk as if they have 400 MPs in Parliament (Lok Sabha). They only have 240. We hope the opposition and its members are not treated like this,” he added.
To a question on the controversy surrounding the Agniveer scheme, Abdullah said it was one of the main reasons behind the BJP winning fewer seats in the general elections and that the Government should scrap the scheme.
“It is an old issue. Votes were cast against the BJP over that. One of the main reasons for the BJP’s defeat was that those areas from where people join the armed forces did not accept Agniveer. The BJP should accept the mandate of the people, cancel the Agniveer scheme and replace it with something else,” he said.
On the Police chief R R Swain reported remarks that those found assisting militants should be tried under the Enemy Agents Ordinance, the NC vice president said such decisions will not be “imposed” on people when elections are held in J&K and it has its own Government.

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