J&K Chief Minister foresees birth of UPA-III in 2014

Promoting the National Conference’s coalition with the Congress, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday predicted the birth of UPA-III in 2014 but lashed out at the BJP’s election plank of the annulment of Article 370.

Addressing a public rally after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi flagged off the train service connecting Qazigund and Banihal, Mr. Abdullah castigated the BJP for raising the bogey of Article 370. Nobody could weaken or revoke the Article granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

“The BJP has developed a trait to deceive the people on this issue as soon as elections draw nearer. We, the people of Jammu and Kashmir, categorically tell them that revocation of Article 370 is not possible at all and any attempt on this sensitive issue would only be on our dead bodies,” the Chief Minister asserted. “The BJP never raised this issue in the last six years.”

He called for a joint campaign by the NC and the Congress against the BJP’s “divisive and communal tactics.”

Mr. Abdullah said, “I am sure Dr. Manmohan Singh and Ms. Sonia Gandhi would be here to flag off train on the Banihal-Katra leg, connecting the entire Jammu and Kashmir to the rest of the country,” he said.

The 11-km-long tunnel across the Pir Panjal mountain range would strengthen the State’s physical integration with the rest of India. “It has not only connected the two physically divided regions but also joined hearts.”

Joyride

Earlier, Dr. Singh and Ms. Gandhi boarded the train and enjoyed the inaugural joyride through the country’s longest railway tunnel from Banihal (Jammu province) to Lavidara, near Qazigund in the Kashmir Valley and back.

A number of students, State leaders, legislators and Ministers travelled through the tube beneath the Pir Panjal mountain range with the Prime Minister’s entourage.

Correction

This story was corrected on June 30, 2013 for an typo error