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Sajad Lone “begging” for electoral support from Apni Party chief Bukhari: Omar Abdullah

omar Abdullah

Hitting out at Peoples Conference chief Sajad Lone, National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah on Sunday said those calling him a tourist in the Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency are now begging for support of other political parties to remain in contest.

Abdullah was replying to questions on Lone yesterday seeking support of the Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari to prevent split of the anti-NC votes in Baramulla where Lone himself is the candidate for the seat.

Abdullah alleged that the People’s Conference President is being supported by BJP and New Delhi in the Baramulla constituency. Omar in this connection also referred to a “meeting between Lone, BJP leader Tarun Chugh and Apni Party President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari at the latter’s residence here recently”.

“The arrival of Tarun Chugh in Kashmir and his meeting with Altaf Bukhari and Sajad Lone clearly indicates that it is the BJP that is contesting the election here”, Omar Abdullah said.

He accused Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP of benefiting the BJP by contesting elections against the INDIA bloc in Jammu and Kashmir. Despite being regional rivals, the PDP and the NC had joined the opposition alliance but failed to arrive at a seat sharing agreement.

“It is they (PDP) who were selfish. They had tied up with the INDIA bloc with the only aim of getting this (Anantnag-Rajouri) seat. “The INDIA alliance is fighting the BJP, and the INDIA alliance is here on this stage. Those who are not on this stage are trying to benefit the BJP. This is a fact,” Abdullah said at an election rally at Bijbehara in Anantnag district, the native place of Mehbooba Mufti.

He said the objective of forming the alliance was to counter the communal forces “especially the BJP”. “In Jammu and Kashmir also, we joined the INDIA bloc with the same aim. The aim was not to look for seats or our own benefits. We were looking at the interests of Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of the country.

“Unfortunately, especially in this Lok Sabha constituency, our contest is with another member of the INDIA bloc. Now we are being accused of being selfish. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti says this in her speech every day that NC is acting selfishly. For a minute, let’s assume that we are selfish. Is Congress also selfish? Look at the signs.

“If there is an NC sign, there is the Congress’ as well. We have both NC and Congress leaders campaigning together. M Y Tarigami has also extended support to Mian Altaf Ahmad (NC candidate). Is Tarigami also selfish?” he asked.

Abdullah said if the National Conference was selfish, it would have put up a candidate in Kargil where it has the majority in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC).

Meanwhile addressing her election rally in south Kashmir, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti reiterated her claim that the PDP wanted to build consensus over candidates for the Lok Sabha elections, but the NC leadership chose to go solo.

“We wanted to go together with other parties in this election as we are facing tough times. Unfortunately, the NC did not want it. The NC workers wanted to work together but their leadership did not want it. We gave all powers to Farooq Abdullah, but he did not find it appropriate to even ask me. They went to the extent of claiming that PDP is finished. How will PDP get finished? PDP finished POTA, Task Force and (counter-insurgent group) Ikhwan,” she said.

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