Srinagar: Former chief minister and National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah has given BJP a reason to smile after he pitched for statehood and avoided the contentious issue of Article 370.
“We celebrated and distributed sweets that Omar Abdullah demanded only statehood. Realization seemed to have dawned upon him as he didn’t demand the restoration of Article 370,” said Ashok Koul BJP’s General Secretary (org).
Omar in an article to a national newspaper announced he won’t contest election till Jammu and Kashmir remains a union territory. He criticized the BJP for revoking Article 370 and incarcerating mainstream leaders.
“Omar’s demand for the restoration of statehood was genuine. Prime Minister has also stated that statehood will be granted at an appropriate time. This demand for statehood will be met after guns will fall silent in Kashmir,” Koul said.
Under fire, National Conference tried to skid safe from the controversy created by its vice president. “It is understandable that he spoke as a vice president of the National Conference. Still, there is a working committee, which will sit and decide about the future course of action,” said National Conference chief spokesperson Aga Ruhullah.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) claimed that National Conference will participate in the elections.
“Omar Abdullah may not, but NC is ready for elections. We never used the issue of special status or constitutional guarantee for electoral gains. Jammu and Kashmir is going through turbulent times and the basic battle is about survival and dignity,” said Firdous Tak, senior PDP leader.
PDP president and former BJP’s ally Mehbooba Mufti is adamant on her demand for restoration of special status and statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, sources said.
Reacting to Omar’s statement, a senior Congress leader it was his personal viewpoint. “Party has not issued any statement as yet,” he said.