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Kashmir unrest: With key elections around corner, PDP and NC cash in on people’s emotions

While Kashmir is yet to come out of the trauma and despondency after months of violent protests, strict curfews and shutdowns that took an immense economic and human toll, the two major political parties from the Valley — the National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party — are back to what they know best: Playing politics.

With the elections to the two key Lok Sabha seats of Srinagar and Anantnag set to be held early next year, the political leadership of the National Conference and PDP is leaving no stone unturned to appeal to the emotions of people who have been traumatised by the ongoing agitation in the Valley. It all began with the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah‘s criticism of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre and the PDP-BJP coalition government headed by Mehbooba Mufti for failing to handle the unrest in the Valley following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

File image of Omar Abdullah. PTI

File image of Omar Abdullah. PTI

The National Conference’s working president, who himself faced a similar situation in 2010 during which at least 125 persons, mostly youths, were killed in retaliatory action against protesters, didn’t stop there. He even said that it would be a “grave mistake” to blame Pakistan for flaring up the situation.

“Simply blaming Pakistan for the present situation, then, it would mean that we don’t have to do anything to prevent the unrest, which I think would be a grave mistake. We need to have talked internally, we need to solve this political crisis and until we are conscious of this reality, I don’t think we can take any concrete action,” Omar told reporters in Srinagar.

Going a step ahead, on the 111th birth anniversary of his father, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, Dr Farooq Abdullah asked the Hurriyat to unite under a single banner and extended his party to the separatists “at this hour”. Addressing party workers at the mausoleum of Sheikh in Srinagar, Farooq said, “I ask these Hurriyat leaders to unite. We are standing by your side at this hour. Don’t think of us as your adversaries. We are not your adversaries.”

As if not to be left behind, Mehbooba admitted that security forces had used excessive force in the past five months of civilian uprising in Kashmir, and urged the Jammu and Kashmir Police to “change its line of action so that wounds inflicted on people are healed”. She also directed security forces to differentiate between militants and their families and not to see everybody as a suspect.

“Over the past five months, a lot of damage with regard to life and property took place here. Civilians, policemen and other security forces personnel sustained injuries. I will not shy away from speaking the truth. We were left with no option other than to take tough measures to protect life and property,” the chief minister said, while addressing the passing-out parade of a batch of new police recruits at Commandos Training Centre (CTC) Lethpora in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

So, why are all the political parties shifting their moral goalposts on the prevailing crisis in the Valley which has left at least 96 civilians and two security personnel dead, over 16,000 injured while more than 10,000 have been arrested during the past five months?

File image of Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti. PTI

File image of Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti. PTI

While many experts have argued that the political posturing, especially by the National Conference, shows that there are no dividing lines between mainstream and separatist politics in Kashmir, that would be denigrating their contributions to the process of establishing democracy in Jammu and Kashmir that has been hit by turmoil over the last three decades.

The upcoming parliamentary elections to Srinagar and Anantnag Lok Sabha constituencies, which fell vacant after the resignation of PDP MP Tariq Hamid Karra and election of Mehbooba to the post of chief minister respectively, has forced the regional parties to take a populist view on the prevailing crisis so as to brighten their electoral prospects.

Farooq is at the fag-end of his political career and it is obvious he is trying to stage a comeback by giving it a last shot before retiring, whatever it costs. Mehbooba, on the other hand, is facing severe criticism for ‘mishandling’ the prevailing crisis in the Valley. Her party has lost the ground it gained during the 2014 state Assembly elections.

In such a situation, both parties would like to appeal to the passions of the people in order to restore their electoral credibility. Calling them ‘separatist backers’ or ‘Hurriyat sympathisers’ would be distorting what lies at the heart of the issue. These days, separatism sells like hot cakes and the political compulsions brought about by the prevailing crisis has forced the two parties to toe the populist sentiment.

Nothing more.

Nothing less.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 15:45 IST

Omar Abdullah scoffs at demonetization, says people are being told where to spend their money

Not only do we not have the freedom to access our money, we are also being told where we can spend our earnings, said Omar Abdullah. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Criticising demonetization, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said on Thursday it had not only deprived people access to their money but now they are also being denied freedom of spending at places of their choice.”So not only do we not have the freedom to access our money, we are also being told where we can spend our earnings. A relative of mine got his salary the other day which included a nice thick booklet of Rs 50 vouchers and a list of shops he can spend them at,” Omar said in a series of tweets.Reacting to reports that authorities have snapped mobile phone services in some parts of south Kashmir Anantnag district, the National Conference leader said the move has rendered the digital wallets of cashless economy useless. “In a cashless economy all the digital wallets are now useless. Tell me again how we are going to sell the utopian dream to people?” he asked.

Farooq Abdullah’s pro-Hurriyat line shows once again that dividing lines in Kashmir are only on paper

Former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah’s public endorsement of the Hurriyat Conference is one more indication of the fact that there is no real dividing line between the so-called ‘mainstream’ and so-called ‘secessionist’ politics.

I was sitting with a couple of ranking Hurriyat Conference leaders the evening after Abdullah’s statement. One of them remarked with a cynical smile that Abdullah was preparing the ground to contest a Lok Sabha by-election in spring. By-polls are due for the Srinagar and Anantnag seats – the latter vacated by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

Both the major mainstream parties have at various times played with people’s emotions. Not only do they destabilise each other’s governments by funding `pelters,’ they promote secessionist sentiment through the education system, bureaucrats, police, media, and various institutions when they are in government.

If indeed Dr Abdullah has an eye on the by-elections, it would not be the first time this sort of thing has occurred. During the 1977 elections, 29 months after the Indira-Sheikh `accord,’ both Mirza Afzal Beg for the National Conference and Mirwaiz Farooq for the Janata Party obliquely or directly promoted secession and Islamist sentiment in their respective campaigns.

After the Centre pulled the rug under his feet in 1984, showing contempt for his House majority, Abdullah and his party learnt a hard lesson: he would keep on the right side of whoever was in power at the Centre. Since the Centre has given him and his party short shrift of late, he seems to have opted for populism in the run-up to the by-elections.

Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Reuters

Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Reuters

A veteran of Kashmir’s backroom politics observed that, if the Congress and the National Conference pooled forces, the Congress could win the Anantnag seat, and Abdullah the Srinagar seat. In fact, Abdullah could win even without pooling forces.

Despite this week’s googly, Abdullah should be complemented for having avoided such populism since his father’s death in 1982 brought him to the forefront. The PDP, on the other hand, has walked a delicate tightrope ever since it was formed in 1999 – beginning from its choice of a green flag and the same election symbol which the secessionist Muslim United Front had adopted in 1987.

The Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami has covertly backed the currently ruling PDP in the 2002, 2008, and 2014 elections. As politics in other places have shown, such alliances can prove costly. A case in point: activists of the Jamaat have been at the forefront of organising this year’s uprising.

To a large extent, the constituent units collectively known as `Hurriyat’ are only the front for a vast and variegated range of forces and interests. This year, the buttons of remote control have been operated from Pakistan.

The poor end up dead

The tragedy is that the children of the poor get killed in the sordid blood games of those with interests in that vast array of forces, which benefit from unrest and instability. The children of those within those interest groups never come to harm. Their studies – often abroad or at least in different parts of the country – have generally not been affected this summer.

A few hours after Dr Abdullah’s statement on Monday, I sat with some of this year’s leading `stone-pelters’ in Pulwama. They were intent on `azadi’ (which one of them described as the removal of armed forces), but agreed that it is always the poor that end up dead in Kashmir’s repeated unrests.

They had little idea of the ideology, programme or borders of an independent Kashmir – much like the various so-called `Hurriyat’ `leaders’. When I asked about Ladakh, saying the people there want a closer relationship with India, they decided after a four second discussion to grant Ladakh what the people there want.

Their emotions are ever-so-often pushed to fever pitch by the speeches and positions taken by a range of `leaders’ who want power but have no vision – or commitment to any position, or political agenda.

The boys agreed that stone-pelting has become something of an obsessive game for their generation. They even said that they had attended practice sessions at Srinagar’s Idgah, under the gaze of security men, where organisers had taught them that over-arm lobs did not leave the elbow aching the way straight throws did.

They said that, when they were children in the previous decade (they were all born between 1994 and 1998), they used to play with army men, and share their food. It was during the agitations of 2008 that they learnt a different narrative, and began to hate the army, and India.

Since 2008, a carefully orchestrated `narrative’ about `occupation,’ `colonization’ and repression, peppered with talk of `mass graves,’ `mass rapes’ and so on, has shaped a new generation’s sentiments, a new movement, and a new militancy. Universities, literary festivals and the media have been vehicles for this.

Those two Hurriyat men with whom I sat the next evening in Srinagar spoke of their despair at the extent to which this generation, mainly teenagers, are influenced by radical ideas about Islamism. Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Omar had expressed similar views more than a year ago (please hyperlink my interview-based article of last November). The powers that be still apparently thought the situation was `under control’ at that time – as perhaps they have convinced themselves once more.

The fact is that, in the cesspool of Kashmir’s politics, so-called `secessionist’ leaders sometimes shows more maturity and responsibility than so-called `mainstream’ ones. All too often, much depends on who has been fed how much, and the stakes they see for gaining power or money.

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 18:39 IST

‘Who the hell are they to call me anti-national?’ Farooq Abdullah slams BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah lashed out at BJP over their criticism of his statement on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. “Who the hell are they to call me anti-national, those who call me anti-national must be themselves anti-national,” Abdullah told ANI on Sunday.”Why are you (BJP) blaming me for what I see on ground; I see we can’t take that area (PoK), they (Pak) can’t take our place (Kashmir),” he said. Abdullah also said, “What is the battle about? Why battle over something which is not yours.”The National Conference leader had stirred a controversy earlier on Friday by questioning India’s claim on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and said it was not the country’s paternal property. “PoK is presently under Pakistan occupation. It is not the personal property of India so that it could make a claim over it like an inherited property of forefathers,” he was quoted as saying by News 18 website while addressing a function in the Chenab Valley.On Abdullah’s statemnt, Minister of State (PMO) Jitendra Singh said, “This is nothing unusual. When they’re out of power they overnight start questioning state of Jammu and Kashmir. When they get back to power they start swearing about Kashmir being an integral part of India.”On Saturday, the BJP had condemned the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister’s assertion that PoK was not a personal property to be inherited and had asked him to tender an apology for using intemperate language while speaking about India’s sovereignty.”It is extremely condemnable if it is true. It needs to be clarified. How can he make such a statement? Is he not aware of the resolution of Parliament on this? Can he use such kind of intemperate language related to India’s sovereignty?” asked BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli.

Farooq Abdullah calls meeting of opposition parties in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National Conference President Farooq Abdullah on Friday called a meeting of opposition parties of Kashmir to discuss the prevailing situation in the Valley which has crippled normal life for more than three months.”Abdullah has called a meeting of opposition parties and individual leaders to discuss the ongoing situation in Kashmir,” a National Conference spokesman said. He said the aim of the meeting was to find a way out of the situation.Life in Kashmir has come to standstill for the past 98 days due to street protests which erupted after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8.The unrest has claimed 84 lives, including two cops, and left thousands of others injured in clashes between protestors and security forces.Shops, business establishments, petrol pumps and educational institutions have largely remained closed.Thousands of youths, including some top separatist leaders, have been arrested by police in an attempt to break the impasse. Over 300 persons have been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA).

Kashmir unrest: ‘Unabated repression’ of civilians will prolong cycle of violence, says Omar Abdullah

Srinagar: National Conference working president Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said the “unabated repression” of civilians in Kashmir seemed like an effort to punish people for the ongoing unrest, but would only prolong the cycle of violence that has left the Valley on the boil.

File image of Omar Abdullah. PTI

File image of Omar Abdullah. PTI

“Nocturnal raids, imposing slapping of Public Safety Acts indiscriminately, ransacking peoples’ homes and burning their crops and animal fodder cannot be an acceptable modus operandi of the state’s security forces in dealing with a political situation,” Omar said.

He said it was imprudent to expect that such acts would lead to sustainable peace and normalcy. “Hundreds of electric transformers in rural areas have been damaged beyond repair in a clear attempt to persecute people en-masse by depriving them of essential services. People in rural areas are now trying to protect electric transformers in their areas with sand bags because security forces are firing bullets to damage them,” he said in a statement.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said trying to “arm twist” people into political adherence was a dangerous policy and would only lead to more violence. “New Delhi accepted that dialogue is the answer to the simmering discontent in Kashmir and their current assumption that the agitation can be seen off by tiring people is fraught with enormous risks because when the fatigue wears out – as it eventually will, the agitation will spark off again.

“To deal with Kashmir as cyclic problem of agitations and managing agitations defies the overarching interests of peace and prosperity,” Omar said. He said the fundamental rights of the people in Kashmir have to be upheld and the state’s “intentional reluctance” to do so fuels the perception of isolation and alienation in Kashmir.

“Treating all Kashmiris as hostile combatants who deserve to be persecuted into discipline and coerced into normalcy is a validation of those voices that question the State’s sincerity in dealing with the people of Kashmir fairly, humanely and in a just manner,” he said.

Former sarpanch shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Pulwama in south Kashmir

Former sarpanch shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Pulwama in south Kashmir

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Srinagar: Militants on Sunday shot dead a former village headman affiliated to opposition National Conference in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, police said.

“Gunmen shot dead Fayaz Ahmad Bhat at his home at Kandizal in Kakapora area of Pulwama district this afternoon,” a police official said.

He said Bhat was a former Sarpanch and affiliated to opposition National Conference.

Army refutes allegations of involvement in killing of 13 horses in Kulgam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Army on Tuesday strongly refuted allegations of mowing down 13 Bakerwal horses on September 25, and said that the allegations are ‘viciously fabricated’. “Army strongly refutes allegations of any involvement in killing of 13 horses in Prisal, Kulgam on 25 September as reported in some newspapers. Nature of allegations that Army had purposely “rammed their Casspir repeatedly into the livestock” is viciously fabricated and bizarre,” said Army in a statement. It was alleged that a security force vehicle at Prisal village in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district had mowed down 13 horses. Villagers had alleged that security force vehicle was patrolling during the night when it mowed down the horses before fleeing away taking advantage of the darkness.The nomadic Bakerwal (shepherds) community migrates along with their herds twice in the year to graze their cattle at greener pastures. The issue took a political overtone with main opposition National Conference (NC) hitting out at the security forces for what they said deliberately mowing down about a dozen horses for no rhyme or reason.

PM Modi expresses concern over Kashmir situation; CM Mufti says unrest in valley was ‘pre-planned’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to reach out to people of Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday expressed his “deep concern and pain” over the situation there and asked all political parties to work together to find a “permanent and lasting” solution to problems in Jammu and Kashmir. Making an appeal for restoration of normalcy in the Valley where the unrest entered the 45th day, Modi emphasised that there has to be a dialogue.An official statement issued after his 75-minute-long meeting with a joint opposition delegation led by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the Prime Minister appreciated the “constructive suggestions” made by them during the talks and reiterated his government’s commitment to the welfare of people. The 20-member delegation comprising Omar and seven of his National Conference MLAs, Congress legislators led by PCC Chief G A Mir and CPI-M MLA M Y Tarigami had called on the Prime Minister this morning and made an appeal for a political approach for resolving the crisis in the Valley and to ensure that the “mistakes” of the past are not repeated.Expressing his “deep concern and pain” at the prevailing situation, the Prime Minister said “those who lost their lives during recent disturbances are part of us, our nation; whether the lives lost are of our youth, security personnel or police, it distresses us.””Government and the nation stand with the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” the Prime Minister said, and suggested that all political parties should reach out to the people and convey the same.Kashmir unrest was ‘pre-planned’: Mehbooba MuftiJammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti found nothing wrong in opposition leaders meeting PM Modi over the situation in the valley. “We live in a democratic set-up. If opposition leaders meet the Prime Minister or the President, if some solution can be found, it is a good thing,” said Mufti. Contending that the unrest in Kashmir was “pre-planned”, Mufti said a “handful of people” were deliberately keeping the Valley on the boil while 95% people were peace-loving and should not be punished for the fault of 5%. She expressed pain that children are being used as a shield by “vested interests” while attacking camps and posts of security forces to incite them, as a result of which innocent kids become a casualty.Referring to the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in a gunfight, the Chief Minister said, “there was nothing new in this. Killing of militants has been happening for the past 25 years. I want to tell you this because all this was pre-planned. They were waiting for a reason, a chance to put the state back into that fire in which it was always.” She said, “they (those indulging in violence) are only a handful of people. Most Kashmiris want peace. They understand that the kind of freedom Kashmir is enjoying today is not there even in Islamic countries like Afghanistan, Syria, Turkey and Pakistanis. When gun enters a country, it is no more free, no matter how much it claims to be free.”NC President Omar Abdullah thanks PM Modi for hearing them outThe 46-year-old Working President of National Conference Omar told reporters after the meeting that they requested the Prime Minister for finding a political solution to the Kashmir issue so that a lasting peace is ensured in the state as well as in the country.”I am not going to put words into the Prime Minister’s mouth nor am I going to draw further meaning from what he said,” Omar said.”We talked about the same thing that we have been talking with other leaders ever since we arrived in Delhi that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, especially in light of the present crisis, needs to be understood correctly after which a solution is required. We emphasised that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir is more of political in nature. Time and again such situations do arise but if we are unable to find a political solution to it, we will be repeating our mistakes again and again,” he said.

Kashmir unrest: PM Modi indicates political approach could help resolve situation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday indicated that there might be some political initiative for finding a lasting solution to the current unrest in valley. The Prime Minister also expressed grief over the loss of every life in valley weather that be of a protester or a security force personally. The Prime Minister told a delegation led by Omar Abdullah that development alone can’t resolve the issue.

The valley of Kashmir has been reeling under a curfew for the past 45 days, since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. Close to seventy 70 people have died and almost 8000 people have been injured in clashes with government forces trying to quell the unrest.

“There has to be dialogue and we need to find a permanent and lasting solution to the problem within the framework of the Constitution,” a government statement said after the meeting.

National Conference working president, Omar, who along with other opposition parties has been camping in Delhi from last few days, appealed that a political approach needs to be adopted for resolving the present crisis in the Valley.

Narendra Modi. APNarendra Modi. AP

Narendra Modi. AP

“We talked about the same thing that we have been talking with other leaders ever since we arrived in Delhi that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, especially in light of the present crisis, needs to be understood correctly after which a solution is required.” Omar told reporters in New Delhi. “We emphasised that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir is more of political (sic) in nature. Time and again such situations do arise but if we are unable to find a political solution to it, we will be repeating our mistakes again and again,” Omar told reporters after the meeting.

“The Prime Minister told us in categorical terms that development alone will not resolve this problem,” he said and refused to draw any conclusion from that.

In Srinagar, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) welcomed the statement of the government of India and said that if Opposition parties in Jammu and Kashmir are able to take the state out of the current morass, it is welcomed.

“We appreciate the move and welcome the prime ministers statement on Kashmir. We have been saying it from day one that we all need to understand that to bring peace back to the streets of Kashmir, we need to hold dialogue with everyone,” Peoples Democratic Party leader, Waheed ur Rehman Para said.

But National Conference leaders said that it should have been the state government, instead of Opposition, that should have initiated the process of finding a peaceful solution to the ongoing crises in Kashmir.

“It should be the primary objective of the state government to impress upon its alliance partner to hold dialogue with stakeholders to ensure peace in the state,” National Conference leader, Tanvir Sadiq, said. “I wish this was done before 45 days of curfew, more than 60 killing and eight thousand people injured the state government should have taken every initiative to bring peace to the valley. At least we are happy that he (PM) understood that there is a need to have dialogue,” Sadiq added.

In Jammu, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti told reporters that if the Opposition parties have gone to Delhi to help contribute in the situation, “it is (a) good thing.”

Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief Ghulam Ahamd Mir said that to bring a lasting peace in the region, it was important for the New Delhi to institutionalise the dialogue process with all the stake holders of the valley and there was nothing new in it as both NDA and UPA have held dialogue with leaders from valley previously.

“We just hope that the current situation in valley changes. And some kind of road map evolves to bring peace back,” he said.

A senior Hurriyat leader said that they will wait for the Prime Minister’s invitation than respond to what he has told Omar Abdullah.

Opposition delegation from Jammu and Kashmir to meet PM Narendra Modi on Monday

New Delhi: With Kashmir in turmoil, a delegation of opposition parties from the state will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday to impress upon him the need for finding a “political solution” to the crisis by initiating a dialogue with “all stakeholders”.

PM Narendra Modi. AP

PM Narendra Modi. AP

The delegation led by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah of the National Conference will apprise Modi of the ground situation in the state, which is in the grip of a prolonged spell of violence and lockdown since the gunning down of militant commander Burhan Wani by security forces on 8 July, and highlight the plight of Kashmiri people.

The delegation will include CPI-M MLA Mohammed Yusuf Tarigami, state Congress President GA Mir, senior leaders of National Conference and some Independent MLAs.

Sources in the opposition parties that would comprise the delegation said it would request the Prime Minister to impress upon the state government to stop dealing with the situation “administratively” as it was leading to “unprecedented disaffection”, especially among the youth.

It would underscore the need to initiate a “credible and meaningful” dialogue with “all stakeholders” to bring an end to the unrest without “further waste of time”, sources said.

The delegation would bring up the issue of use of pellet guns by security forces which has caused injuries to civilians on a large scale and pitch for an end to “mass harassment, raids and arrests” as these have worsened an already volatile situation in the state.

With the unrest in Kashmir showing no signs of abating, leaders of opposition parties ed by Omar had yesterday called on President Pranab Mukherjee and requested him to urge the Modi government to find a political solution to it.

The visit to the President followed a meeting chaired the 46-year-old Omar where serious concern was voiced about the turmoil spreading to other parts of the state including Jammu and Kargil.

The former Chief Minister, who was also accompanied by senior leaders of NC including Nasir Wani, Davinder Rana, Ali Mohammed Sagar and AR Rather, had on Saturday said, “The fire that has been raging in Kashmir Valley has already started spreading across Peer Panjal and Chenab Valley in Jammu region and Kargil area.”

Kashmir unrest: J&K leaders urge President to intervene

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A delegation of Opposition parties from Jammu and Kashmir met President Mukherjee on Saturday seeking his immediate intervention to impress upon the Central government to find a political solution to Kashmir crisis instead of tackling it administratively in a ham-handed manner and worsening the situation.”The root cause of the current agitation lies in politics and solution must be found politically and not through use of force. It will be counter productive,” said former chief minister Omar Abdullah of National Conference after meeting the President.Warning that the current unrest is now “showing signs of spreading beyond the valley to Pir Panjal, Chinab Valley and Kargil region of Ladakh”, Omar said, “The failure of the central government to acknowledge that the issue in Kashmir is largely of a political nature has worsened the already volatile situation. All attempts to crush the agitation by heaping more misery, by imposing further restrictions has driven more people put on the streets.”Omar blamed Pakistan for adding fuel to the fire to the unrest that unfolded after Hizbul commander Burhan Wani’s encounter death on July 8.Pointing out at BJP-PDP coalition government’s failure to tackle the Kashmir crisis, Abdullah said, “It is very sad that instead of political leadership it is the Army chief of Northern Command that has voiced his concern and spoken about the need of a dialogue with different stakeholders.”The delegation pointed out at non-implementation of recommendations of the Working Groups and blamed the government for not tabling the interlocutor’s report in the Parliament that was constituted to solve the longstanding Kashmir crisis.CPM leader Tarigami said, “The government should not shy away from political outreach and must meet the separatist leadership.”Omar warned that a “continued delay to engage with the people of the state through a comprehensive and sustained political initiative will further deepen the sense of alienation in the Valley and cast a shadow of uncertainty on its future generation”.He said the delegation also requested the President to use his “influence” on the state as well as the Centre “to stop the use of lethal force against civilians in the Valley”.Refuting Kashmiri leader Sajjad Lone’s claim that only 5% of Kashmiri population is part of the unrest, Omar said, “I challenge him to try visiting his home in constituency Handwara let alone carry out a meeting….The unrest has spread to all the rural areas…It is a matter of grave concern.”The delegation consisting of 22 senior leaders from Congress, CPM, Peoples’ Democratic Front (PDF) and Democratic Party Nationalist (DPN) met President Mukherjee for nearly one hour.Besides Abdullah, the delegation also included JK Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir, CPM leader M. Y. Tarigami, PDF leader Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen, PDP (Nationalist) Ghulam Hassan Mir and several senior leaders from National Conference and Congress.Sense of alienation will deepen: OmarOmar warned that a “continued delay to engage with the people of the state through a comprehensive and sustained political initiative will further deepen the sense of alienation in the Valley and cast a shadow of uncertainty on its future generation”. The delegation will be meeting mainstream Opposition parties in New Delhi during next to couple of days to convey them about “grave situation” prevailing in J&K to build up more pressure on the central government.

NC raises uproar over IIT, IIM for Kashmir Valley, walks out of state assembly

Srinagar: Opposition National Conference (NC) MLAs led by party leader and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah staged a walkout from the state assembly on Monday alleging discrimination against the Valley.

Representational image of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. Getty ImagesRepresentational image of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. Getty Images

Representational image of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. Getty Images

The legislators were agitating against the state and central government for not sanctioning an IIT and an IIM for the Valley.

BJP legislators on the other hand got up on their seats shouting slogans against Pakistan who they blamed for masterminding the Pampore attack by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) on Saturday in which eight paramilitary central reserve police force (CRPF) troopers were killed and 22 others injured.

The two suicide (Fidayeen) militants who carried out the attack were also killed in the ensuing gunfight.

Mehbooba has joined ‘Islamic terror’ bandwagon: NC hits back at her ‘setback for religion’ comment

Opposition National Conference attacked Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday, over her alleged remark that she is “ashamed as a Muslim.” NC spokesperson Junaid Mattu claimed that Mehbooba Mufti while speaking to reporters after the wreath laying ceremony for the CRPF personnel martyred in Pampore has said that “she was ashamed as a Muslim over the attack.””This is the same Mehbooba Mufti who used to say that terror has no religion. Now suddenly she sees terror as an offshoot of Islam for which Muslims should be ashamed. This is shameful coming from a Chief Minister,” Mattu said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National Conference leader Omar Abdullah in a tweet said, “So Mehbooba Mufti has joined the “Islamic terror” bandwagon after spending years saying terror had no religion.”
ALSO READ Pampore attack: Such incidents ‘defaming’ J&K, setback to religion we practise: Mehbooba Mufti”Nothing can be achieved by this…. We are only defaming Kashmir and the state by these acts. We also deal a set back to the religion we practice,” Mehbooba had said on Sunday after laying floral wreath on the coffins of the CRPF personnel killed in Pampore on Saturday.
ALSO READ Pampore attack: Mehbooba Mufti, Nirmal Singh attend wreath laying ceremony for martyrsCondemning the dastardly attack on the CRPF convoy, the NC spokesperson expressed solidarity with the families of the martyred policemen saying violence in any form is condemnable and unacceptable. “While our hearts go out to the families of the martyred CRPF personnel, we are shocked at the Chief Minister’s continued desperation to jump on the Islamic terror bandwagon. One wonders what her compulsions are but this is tragic. She’s either still trying to prove her loyalty to the RSS and VHP or she has pledged to assail Muslim societies, Muslim countries and Islam as a convenient medium of political empowerment,” Mattu alleged, adding Mehbooba’s comment was “despicable and highly condemnable.”

Anantnag bypolls: As Mehbooba Mufti leads by 3,000 votes, Congress alleges bogus voting, disrupts counting

Anantnag: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was leading by nearly 3,000 votes against her nearest rival as counting in the south Kashmir assembly constituency was briefly disrupted on Saturday after Congress supporters alleged that bogus votes were being counted in the name of postal ballots.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. AFPJammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. AFP

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. AFP

But the vote count resumed immediately even as dozens of supporters of Congress candidate Hillal Ahmed Shah shouted anti-government slogans and protested over “unsealed” postal ballots.

Shah alleged that postal ballots were “not properly sealed and were basically bogus votes”.

The returning officer refused to entertain his protest, leading to a ruckus inside the counting hall of Government Degree College, Anantnag and disruption in the vote count.

The counting resumed shortly after the Congress activists walked out but continued their protest in the lawns of the college.

After the first two rounds of counting, Mehbooba Mufti was said to have polled nearly 4,200 votes and Shah had a little over 1,200.

The counting of votes polled on 22 June began in the morning and the results should be known before midday.

Mehbooba Mufti of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is one of the eight contestants. Among the others are Shah of the Congress and Iftikhar Hussain Misgar of the National Conference.

The constituency has over 84,000 eligible voters and and nearly 28,500 voted on Wednesday despite a poll boycott called by separatist politicians and militants.

The by-election was necessitated because of the death of the then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who represented the constituency in the assembly, which has an effective strength of 87.

Sayeed passed away in New Delhi on 7 January after a brief illness.

Mehbooba Mufti assumed power after being sworn in as the Chief Minister of the PDP-BJP coalition government on 4 April.

It is mandatory for a Chief Minister or any other minister in the state to become a member of either house of state’s bicameral legislature within six months of being sworn in.

At present, Mehbooba Mufti represents the south Kashmir Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency in parliament.

Oppn guns for Mehbooba Mufti after Rs 58.8 lakh seized in poll-bound Anantnag

A major political storm has hit Mehbooba Mufti-led Jammu and Kashmir government after police seized Rs 58.8 lakh cash from a car in the poll-bound Anantnag constituency.Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba is contesting the June 22 by-elections from the Anantnag constituency. The seat had fallen vacant after the death of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7.Pandemonium rocked Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly on Thursday when opposition Congress and National Conference created ruckus alleging that the cash was meant for buying votes for Mehbooba Mufti.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Authorities, however, were quick to rubbish the charge claiming that the cash belonged to Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ashaji Pora Branch and it was being transported to be deposited in the currency chest when the vehicle was stopped by police naka party at Janglat Mandi on Wednesday evening.Shouting slogans `loot maar bandh karo’ (stop the loot), `paisa bantna band karo’ (stop distribution of money), Congress and NC members walked out of the House in protest demanding explanation from the government and Election Commission (EC).”Our charge is that the cash was meant to be distributed and buy votes. We request the Election Commission to enquire into it and unravel the truth. We will also lodge a formal complaint before the Election Commission,” said Nawang Rigzin Jora, Congress Legislature Party Leader.National Conference too demanded a statement from the government about the seizure of the huge cash in poll bound Anantnag. “The government should make a statement what was this cash meant for”, said Ali Mohammad Sagar, NC general secretary.Senior PDP leader and J&K minister for consumer affairs and public distribution Chaudhary Zulifikar, however, asked the opposition to lodge a complaint before the EC. “If you have a proof you should go to the EC,” he said.District development commissioner, Anantnag, Syed Abid Hussian Shah, however, said the cash has been accounted for and it belongs to the J&K bank Ashaji Pora branch.”Initially, the vehicle was taken in possession and elaborate enquiry was instituted. It was established that the cash was being transferred to the currency chest of J&K bank when the vehicle was stopped by a naka party.There is an adequate cash reserve number. The money stands deposited in the currency chest of J&K bank,” he said.Shah said the bank used the private car to shift the cash in a hurry. “There are RBI guidelines that the cash should be deposited in the chest before nightfall. In the hurry they used a private car to meet the deadline,” he said.

Autonomy to both sides of J&K only realistic solution, says former CM Farooq Abdullah

Jammu: Giving autonomy to both parts of the divided Jammu and Kashmir is the only way to resolve the Kashmir dispute, former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said on Monday.

During a tour of Rajouri district, the National Conference leader told party activists at Budhal: “Autonomy to both sides of Jammu and Kashmir is the only viable and realistic solution to the nearly seven-decade-old problem that has cast dark shadows over the generations. We owe peace and dignified life to posterity. And that can be achieved only by converting the present dividing line between the two neighbouring countries into a line of peace,” he added.

Pakistan controls the northern third of Jammu and Kashmir. The southern two-third of the state is held by India.

Abdullah is on a two-day visit to Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu region.

File photo. Image courtesy PIB.File photo. Image courtesy PIB.

File photo. Image courtesy PIB.

He said the hostilities of 70 years had retarded growth on both sides of the Line of Control and the time had come for India and Pakistan to take a bold initiative by calling a spade a spade.

He referred to the wars of the past and continued border skirmishes, saying these had only added to the miseries of the people of Kashmir.

“The soft borders would open up vistas of economic opportunities besides enabling hassle-free exchange of people, which in turn will be a major dividend to peace and tranquility in the region,” he said.

Abdullah hoped that “good sense will prevail upon all the stakeholders”.

He said denial of autonomy had brought Jammu and Kashmir to the present morass, which if ignored any further could prove detrimental to the larger interests of the state.

Abdullah also spoke about alleged divisive policies being pursued by the Narendra Modi government and said that politics of hate and intolerance were against the very idea of India.

He said India belonged to people of different faiths and they cannot be brought into confrontationist situations for petty politics.

‘Centre should demonstrate political will’: Farooq Abdullah demands revocation of AFSPA

Srinagar: Demanding revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), opposition National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah on Thursday said the Centre should demonstrate political will and imagination to usher Jammu and Kashmir into an era of peace, stability and progress.

“Revocation of AFSPA is the need of the hour. New Delhi should put in sustained and serious efforts to address the
political alienation in Kashmir and provide a hope of reconciliation and inclusiveness to the youth of the state,” he said addressing party workers at a function in Anantnag district of south Kashmir.

The function was organised to commemorate the first death anniversary of veteran party leader and former minister Abdul Gani Shah Veeri.

Farooq Abdullah. AFPFarooq Abdullah. AFP

Farooq Abdullah. AFP

“Our young men and women excel in talent, wisdom and hard work and deserve to thrive in a political environment that nurtures their dreams.

“Hostility cannot be countered with denial or further hostility. New Delhi should walk the extra-mile in addressing the trust-deficit among our youth and should explore every possible opportunity to empower them as the torch-bearers of peace and progress in the state,” the former Chief Minister said.

He said National Conference is committed to strive for the political resolution of the Kashmir issue and would ever shelve its demand for the restoration of Autonomy and the pre-1953 status.

“These are our principled stands and we believe this is the most feasible model of resolving the political issue and would also satisfy the aspirations of our people.

Others have a right to advocate their own solutions and there is absolutely no problem with that,” he said.

Abdullah said any solution acceptable first and foremost to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and also to India and Pakistan would be a credible solution.

“While there might be differences in opinion and ideology, I doubt anyone could possibly deny the necessity of resolving the political issue,” he said.

The National Conference chief asked party workers to ensure participation and empowerment of educated youth in the political processes that define the state’s future.

“We should encourage the young generation to come and voice their grievances and aspirations from within the democratic system.

“This would be a productive medium of channelizing their passion for their state and also their commitment to stand up for the rights and dignity of their people.

“It’s imperative they are groomed, nurtured and empowered,” Abdullah added.

Former J&K CM Farooq Abdullah cautions against division of society under garb of ultra-nationalism

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Sunday cautioned against division of society on the basis of religion, saying those doing it under the garb of “ultra-nationalism” were actually doing disservice to the nation.”Fragmenting society in bits and pieces is against the idea of India and its most cherished composite ethos. Those doing it under the garb of ultra nationalism were doing a disservice to the nation,” he said while addressing party workers here. He expressed concern over the “arrogant posturing” of some elements under the mistaken belief of serving national interest and said this in fact harmed the spirit of togetherness and tranquillity. “Time has come when forces inimical to peace and unity are completely isolated,” he said. He emphasised the need for strengthening secular forces, especially in a diverse state like Jammu and Kashmir which has undergone a traumatic phase in the past.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The nation and the state cannot afford division between communities as they can prosper only when people of all faiths and regions get a fair deal and equal treatment in all spheres,” he said. The National Conference President asked the party cadres to work for forging amity between various segments of society and fight divisive tendencies.”The people, especially poor and down-trodden have all along been looking towards the party with a hope and the leadership should reach out to them in the hour of need,” he added.

Here’s all you need to know about Jammu and Kashmir’s CM Mehbooba Mufti

A leader with grassroots-level popularity, Mehbooba Mufti turned Peoples Democratic Party into a regional force and emerged from the shadow of her illustrious father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to head Jammu and Kashmir, the first woman Chief Minister of the state.A law graduate, 56-year-old Mehbooba took a plunge into mainstream politics of the state in 1996 by joining Congress, along with her father, at a time when militancy was at its peak.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She is credited with growth of the PDP with some observers arguing that she outshone her father in connecting with the common people, especially the youths.She was also accused of playing the soft-separatist card.PDP chose the green colour for the party flag and adopted Pen- Inkpot election symbol of the Muslim United Front (MUF) of 1987, but these moves found some resonances on the ground among the Kashmir residents.Heading a PDP-BJP government formed with an alliance between two idealogical extremes, Mehbooba faces a challenging task ahead as she will strive to carry forward her father’s ‘healing touch’ legacy.A mother of two daughters, she assumed an image of a fiery leader and won her first Assembly election as a Congress candidate from her home segment of Bijbehara.She then played a key role in her father’s victory as Congress candidate in Lok Sabha elections of 1998 when he defeated National Conference’s Mohammad Yousuf Taing from south Kashmir.As Sayeed felt an urge to do something for return of peace to Kashmir, Mehbooba was by his side and the father-daughter duo floated their regional party – the PDP – in 1999.They took along some leaders disgruntled with National Conference and many from Congress, a party where Sayeed spent most of his six-decade political career.From there, Mehbooba took on the responsibility of building the new party.Mehbooba used to visit the homes of those killed in militancy-related violence and immediately struck a chord with the people, especially women, often lending them a shoulder to cry on.In the 2002 Assembly polls, termed as watershed in the state, PDP bagged 16 seats – most of them from south where Mehbooba had extensively campaigned and consolidated the support for her party and her father was sworn-in as the chief minister with the support of his former party Congress.Two years later, Mehbooba contested Parliamentary polls from south Kashmir and won her first Lok Sabha election.She contested Lok Sabha elections from Srinagar in 1999 but was defeated by her bete noire Omar Abdullah. When Amarnath land row engulfed the state, Mehbooba played an important role in persuading her father to pull out from the coalition government with Congress headed by Ghulam Nabi Azad.In 2008 assembly elections, she contested and won from Wachi segment of Shopian district of south Kashmir. Her party increased the tally to 21 seats but preferred to stay in the opposition.It was the National Conference which formed a coalition government with Congress, which was still smarting from the PDP ‘betrayal’ following the Amarnath land row.Mehbooba consolidated her party’s support base in the years spent in opposition, highlighting the alleged failures of the NC-led coalition government. She was considered a very active Opposition leader, the result of which was seen in 2014 Lok Sabha elections as the party won all the three seats in the Valley.Months later, PDP emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly elections bagging 28 seats, paving the way for her father to become Chief Minister for the second time.In March 2015, after months of hectic negotiations, the party formed government in Jammu and Kashmir in alliance with BJP.Although Mehbooba kept a low profile post government formation, she assumed a more central role after reports of Sayeed’s ill health surfaced. She was seen by her father’s side at most public functions.As Sayeed’s health deteriorated, there began speculation about a change of guard in the party and credence to these speculation was given by Sayeed himself when he hinted that his daughter could take over the reins — not by virtue of being his daughter but by her hard work.Following Sayeed’s death on January 7, the state was put under Governor’s Rule and the Assembly was kept in suspended animation on January 8.PDP then sought assurances on a timeframe for implementation of the Agenda of Alliance from the Centre before renewing its alliance with BJP for government formation.

For Mehbooba Mufti, the real political test starts now

Mehbooba Mufti, who was nominated on Thursday as PDP’s chief ministerial candidate, has emerged from the shadow of her illustrious father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to turn the party into a regional force to reckon with.Early political lifeA law graduate, 56-year-old Mehbooba took a plunge into mainstream politics of the state in 1996 by joining Congress, along with her father, at a time when militancy was at its peak. She is credited with the grassroots-level popularity and growth of the PDP with some observers arguing she outshone her father in connecting to the grassroots.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>What sets Mehbooba apartWhat set Mehbooba apart from politicians of her time and even her father was her talent of ground-level political management. The 56-year-old mother of two daughters assumed an image of a fiery leader and won her first Assembly election as a Congress candidate from her home segment of Bijbehara. She then played a key role in her father’s victory as Congress candidate in Lok Sabha elections of 1998 when he defeated National Conference’s Mohammad Yousuf Taing from south Kashmir.As Sayeed felt an urge to do something for return of peace to Kashmir, Mehbooba was by his side and the father-daughter duo floated their regional party – the PDP – in 1999. They took along some leaders disgruntled with National Conference and many from Congress, a party where Sayeed spent most of his six-decade political career. From there, Mehbooba took on the responsibility of building the new party.’Soft-separatist card’She was accused of playing the soft-separatist card, PDP chose the green colour for the party flag and adopted Pen- Inkpot election symbol of the Muslim United Front (MUF) of 1987; but these moves found some resonances on the ground among the Kashmir residents. Mehbooba used to visit the homes of those killed in militancy-related violence and immediately struck a cord with the people, especially women, often lending them a shoulder to cry on.In the 2002 Assembly polls, termed as watershed in the state, PDP bagged 16 seats – most of them from south where Mehbooba had extensively campaigned and consolidated the support for her party and her father was sworn-in as the chief minister with the support of his former party Congress.Two years later, Mehbooba contested Parliamentary polls from south Kashmir and won her first Lok Sabha election. She contested Lok Sabha elections from Srinagar in 1999 but was defeated by her bete noire Omar Abdullah. Amarnath land rowWhen Amarnath land row engulfed the state, Mehbooba played an important role in persuading her father to pull out from the coalition government with Congress headed by Ghulam Nabi Azad. In 2008 assembly elections, she contested and won from Wachi segment of Shopian district of south Kashmir. Her party increased the tally to 21 seats but preferred to stay in the opposition.It was the National Conference which formed a coalition government with Congress, which was still smarting from the PDP ‘betrayal’ following the Amarnath land row. Mehbooba consolidated her party’s support base in the years spent in opposition, highlighting the alleged failures of the NC-led coalition government.Made marks as opposition leader She was considered a very active Opposition leader, the result of which was seen in 2014 Lok Sabha elections as the party won all the three seats in the Valley. Months later, PDP emerged as the single largest party in the assembly elections bagging 28 seats, paving way for her father to become Chief Minister for the second time.In March 2015, after months of hectic negotiations, the party formed government in Jammu and Kashmir in an alliance with BJP. Although Mehbooba kept a low profile post government formation, she assumed a more central role after reports of Sayeed’s ill health surfaced. She was seen by her father’s side at most public functions.As Sayeed’s health deteriorated, there began speculation about a change of guard in the party and credence to these speculation was given by Sayeed himself when he hinted that his daughter could take over the reins — not by virtue of being his daughter but by her hard work. Following Sayeed’s death on January 7, the state was put under Governor’s Rule and the Assembly was kept in suspended animation on January 8.PDP then sought assurances on a timeframe for implementation of the Agenda of Alliance from the Centre before renewing its alliance with BJP for government formation

Will never enter into an alliance with BJP: Omar Abdullah

National Conference (NC) working president Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said his party will never enter into an alliance with the BJP, stating that he would quit politics than compromise with the honour and dignity of the State and its people.NC would never enter into any sort of an alliance with the BJP, he said. “I would rather quit politics than compromise with the honour and dignity of the State and its people,” Omar said addressing a public meeting in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on the occasion of rejoining of Shabir Ahmed Kullay in the party. The former Chief Minister alleged that PDP’s “sellout” to the BJP brought with it disillusionment, disempowerment and contempt for the people of the State.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>PDP entered into an alliance with those who want to “abolish our flag, destroy the foundations of our special status and patronise those who persecute people on the basis of what they eat and do not eat,” he said.In the last year, BJP has used its alliance with PDP in J-K as a “certificate to disguise its politics of polarisation as that of inclusivity,” Omar said. He said PDP has “risked” the political rights and interests of the people of the state in order to clench on to power in an embrace with the BJP while BJP and RSS leaders continue to “spew venom” against minorities and continue to “threaten them of dire consequences.””I can never have anything to do with these people and would refuse every position of power that comes at the cost of the dignity of my people,” Omar said.

J &K: Impasse on government formation not good for the people, says Farooq Abdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Monday termed as against the larger interest of the people the ongoing impasse over the government formation in the state saying the PDP and BJP must either form the government or pave way for the dissolution of Assembly.”PDP and BJP should either form the government to end political uncertainty or pave way for dissolution of Legislative Assembly, as the indecision is against the larger interest of the people and the state,” Abdullah said while addressing party workers.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the people have mandated the two parties to govern the state and they cannot shirk their responsibilities.The National Conference President said the sensitive state cannot afford political stalemate for long and in case the PDP and BJP are unable to perform their assigned roles, there was no option but to go to the people.He said decision-deficit in the coalition has unfolded many challenges on all fronts.He asked his party cadre to step up mass contact and gear up for meeting these challenges.He exhorted the functionaries at the grass roots level to identify problems and seek their urgent redressal.Lauding the resilience and sense of commitment of party workers in meeting variant situations, the NC chief said time has come when the basic district and block level units have to become more vibrant and pro-active in carrying forward the policies and programmes to the people.He said NC is the only visible face in all the three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and it alone can steer out the state from the present morass.He, however, cautioned them against the machinations of divisive forces and hoped that unity shall be maintained at all costs.”National Conference represents glorious ethos of Jammu and Kashmir, as it does not discriminate among the people on the basis of region, religion or caste,” he said.Referring to the inter-party elections Farooq said the process will be completed soon.”The grassroots level workers have a pivotal role in shaping up the party and making it vibrant as envisioned by Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah”, he said, adding that National Conference is a symbol of political stability.

Farooq Abdullah takes U-turn, claims never said NC aligning with BJP

National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah on Sunday rubbished reports suggesting that his party would form the government in Jammu and Kashmir in alliance with the BJP and said the PDP which has the mandate of the people must form the government at the earliest or dissolve the assembly so that fresh election is conducted in the border state.Abdullah, however, said that his party’s Working Committee would take a final call over government formation.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have never said that we are aligning with the BJP. I said PDP and BJP must form the alliance as they have the mandate. Our working committee would consider this. We do not have mandate of the people,” Abdullah told the media.
ALSO READ Farooq Abdullah springs a surprise, says NC ready to consider alliance with BJP”Delay is a bad thing for the state because this is a border state and going through a very difficult phase. They have the mandate. They must sit down and solve the problems of the people. If they can’t solve the problems of the people they must dissolve the assembly and have a new election,” he added.The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister had earlier said the National Conference is ready to consider a tie-up with the BJP for government formation if such an offer is received.”If such a proposal comes, then NC will call a Working Committee (meeting) and debate over it. If such a situation arises, NC can think over it as we have not closed the doors. Our doors are open,” he said.Meanwhile, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti is expected to discuss the future course of action and ties with ally BJP over government formation today.This is the first time that the PDP is meeting to discuss government formation ever since the death of then chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7.Jammu and Kashmir has been under President’s rule since January 9 as neither PDP nor their ally in power BJP has staked claimed for forming the state government.The meeting has been called against the backdrop of reports that Mehbooba is unhappy over several issues put forth by the BJP.The PDP has 27 MLAs while BJP has 25 legislators in the 87-member Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.The BJP had earlier said that the PDP has to make the first move by electing its legislature party leader before they can extend their support for government formation in the state.

National Conference throws its hat in the ring for government formation in J&K

Even as the stalemate over government formation continues, the main opposition National Conference (NC) has thrown its hat in the ring expressing readiness to consider any proposal for alliance with the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir.NC president Farooq Abdullah said his party has not slammed doors for the alliance (with the BJP) for the government formation in the restive state.”If any proposal comes (from BJP or Centre), NC will call the working committee meeting to discuss the issue. If such situation arises, we can think over it. We have not slammed our doors. Our doors are open,” he told reporters.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier Farooq while addressing NC workers in Udhampur noted that peoples’ aspirations hold paramount importance in democratic polity and the moment ruling elite suffers from mistaken belief of being ‘kings’ they get distanced from the masses.”National Conference firmly believes in people to be the fountain head of power. This being core of his party’s philosophy, a major stride was taken in 1996 to steer Jammu and Kashmir on the path of democracy. Those years were really difficult,” he saidFarooq also referred to his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was chief minister of Gujarat in 2011. “I had told Mr Modi that I want to see the day in my life when I would look in his (Modi’s) eyes and would be able to see my Allah, and when he (Modi) looks in my eyes, he will see his Ram”, he said.Farooq’s statement comes a day before Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is holding its first core group meeting since the demise of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. PDP has called all the members including MPs, general secretaries and ex ministers for the meeting to discuss the prevailing situation.PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, who had literally became recluse after the death of her father, will resume work formally on Sunday when she will preside over the meeting.”The meeting will review the situation post Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s demise. Obviously the discussion on alliance with government formation would also come up. The leaders would give their inputs and suggestions”, said a PDP leaderPDP has so far been playing hardball with the BJP over the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir. PDP had earlier asked BJP to meet some conditions before Mehbooba Mufti takes oath as the next chief minister of the state.The conditions include return of power projects run by the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC), return of land under the occupation of the security forces, avoiding controversial issues, liberal central assistance and other demands mentioned in the agenda of alliance.

Farooq Abdullah springs a surprise, says NC ready to consider alliance with BJP

With uncertainty looming large over the continuance of PDP-BJP alliance, National Conference (NC) leader Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said his party is ready to consider a tie-up with the saffron party for government formation if such an offer is received.”If such a proposal comes, then NC will call a Working Committee (meeting) and debate over it. If such a situation arises, NC can think over it as we have not closed the doors. Our doors are open,” he told reporters here when asked to spell out his party’s stand if it gets a proposal from BJP for forming a coalition government in the state which is under Governor’s rule.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the 87-member Assembly, BJP has 25 MLAs while NC has 14 legislators. His comments came as uncertainty prevailed over the fate of PDP-BJP coalition which ran government headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for 10 months before his sudden death on January 7.With regard to the ongoing political uncertainty in the state, the NC patron and former Chief Minister blamed 27-member PDP for it. “Uncertainty has been created by PDP as BJP is ready to form the government and God knows what PDP is thinking, I hope they end this and the government would continue,” he said.Abdullah said that peoples’ aspirations hold paramount importance in democratic polity and the moment ruling elite suffers from the mistaken belief of being ‘kings’ they get distanced from the masses. “NC firmly believes that people are the fountain head of power,” he said, adding that with this as the core of his party’s philosophy, a major stride was taken in 1996 to steer Jammu and Kashmir on the path of democracy.Mentioning a tragic road mishap in Udhampur district which claimed eleven lives, Abdullah said corruption had hollowed the system. He attributed growing road accidents to traffic mismanagement and overloading and said these should be addressed on a priority for saving lives. Earlier, the National Conference President visited the residences of Des Raj and Kehar Singh, two prominent party workers, at Katra and Udhampur to condole their demise and also prayed for peace for the departed souls.