Srinagar, July 25
A month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s outreach to mainstream leaders of J&K, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah said on Sunday that there had been “no follow-up results” on the ground.
All major parties have demanded statehood and the Centre should prove its bona fide by agreeing to that. - Farooq Abdullah, NC President
Abdullah said this in reference to the PM’s remarks at the June 24 meeting in New Delhi that he wanted to win the hearts of the people of J&K and remove “Dilli ki doori” (the distance from Delhi) and “dil ki doori” (distance between hearts). “That was a welcome statement but there is no effort on the ground to win the hearts of the people. People continue to be locked up and dissent is not tolerated. We want to see the change on the ground, a visible effort to win back the people who went through the trauma of their state being dismembered, its special status removed in one sudden blow,” the three-time former chief minister said.
“We are yet to see any follow-up results even after a month... Trust is something that has been missing from both sides (Delhi and Srinagar). Successive PMs—Jawaharlal Nehru, Narasimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee—made promises but the trust deficit has persisted,” he added.
The 83-year-old veteran politician said that he and his party had attended the Delhi meeting because it was an invitation from the PM, although he had no expectations from it. Yet, he said he had hoped for steps to win the hearts and minds of people but nothing had happened.
Abdullah insisted that restoration of “full, undiluted” statehood to J&K should precede the elections to its Assembly. “All major parties have demanded that and the Centre should prove its bona fide by agreeing to that,” he said.
Asked if his party would take part in the elections if the statehood was not granted before that, the National Conference president said, “We will decide at that time when the bugle is blown. We will then sit down and decide what we should do.”
In reply to a question about the fate of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), a conglomerate of six mainstream political parties including the NC and its arch rival PDP, Abdullah said the alliance stands and “we are together...we all are there. We haven’t left.”
He said the alliance was cobbled up together in a hurry when the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was abrogated on August 5, 2019. — PTI
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