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2024 Lok Sabha Polls

Omar Abdullah clarifies:National Conference in talks with Congress for three Lok Sabha seats, is part of INDIA bloc

NEW DELHI: The National Conference is a part of the INDIA grouping and will continue to be, party leader Omar Abdullah clarified on Thursday and said it is in talks with the Congress for an arrangement in three of the six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Omar Abdullah’s statement came shortly after NC chief Farooq Abdullah told reporters that the party would contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections and possible assembly polls in the Union Territory on its own.

”We were a part of the INDIA alliance and we still are. Things have been taken out of context. The main idea of the grouping is to defeat the BJP because there is no point in sailing in two boats,” Omar Abdullah said with his father, also the party’s Srinagar MP, by his side.

Farooq Abdullah, he said, was echoing the general sentiments of party workers. ”NC workers want to fight elections on all six seats but the truth is that sometimes for a bigger objective, small sacrifices have to be made.

”If the bigger objective is to win seats back from the BJP, it is necessary for the National Conference to enter into a seat sharing understanding with the Congress. Our doors are open,” the party’s vice president said. Informal talks with the Congress are already on and there is scope for further discussions, he said. ”…I would like to make it very clear that our commitment to the INDIA grouping remains even though the founding members of the alliance have unfortunately left over the past few weeks. We are not among those who will leave. We will continue our discussions with the Congress and hope to arrive at some agreement soon,” he said.

The six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh are Baramulla, Srinagar, Anantnag, Jammu, Udhampur and Ladakh. Of these, the three seats in the Valley — Baramulla, Srinagar, Anantnag — are with the NC. The other three are with the BJP.

”…Once we make friends, we stick to that…I would like to make it categorically clear that no door, no window and not even a crack is open for NDA,” Omar Abdullah said, dismissing reports that Farooq Abdullah was hinting that the NC was not averse to joining the NDA as ”mischievous and concocted”.

He said his party’s job was also to get the maximum number of seats in the assembly elections, as and when they are held, so the process of ”undoing the damage done to Jammu and Kashmir by the BJP” can be begin. Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the union territory next week, Omar Abdullah said, ”We will also get to know how much development has happened in Jammu and Kashmir.” One thing that the people would like to hear from the prime minister is whether his party will honour the Supreme Court’s decision to hold assembly elections before September this year, he said.

”Also, the prime minister, who is the biggest supporter of one nation, one election, should begin the process by holding simultaneous elections in Jammu and Kashmir,” Omar Abdullah said.

The National Conference has been a part of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) grouping formed last year and comprises the Congress, AAP, RJD, Shiv Sena (UBT), Trinamool Congress, DMK, Left parties among others.

The AAP and Trinamool Congress have said they would be going alone in Punjab and West Bengal.

The upcoming parliamentary elections will be the first major electoral exercise after the special status of the erstwhile state was abrogated in August 2019.

Earlier in the day, Farooq Abdullah, during his interaction with reporters, welcomed the prime minister’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir and said, ”The prime minister is coming, it is a good thing. He is going to announce some projects.” Farooq Abdullah, who has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with alleged scam in Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association, also echoed the view of several opposition parties leaders that the federal probe agency was being used to target their leaders.

”I am myself under the ED scanner. I will appear before them, I am not scared of the ED or anyone else. Let them do what they want. If they think they can finish off the National Conference by jailing Farooq Abdullah, it will not happen because the National Conference is a movement,” he said.

Referring to the Supreme Court scrapping electoral bonds, he welcomed the verdict and said people have a right to know where the money for political parties is coming from.

Source: Press Trust of India

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