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J&K politics: I had the numbers, says Sajad Lone

Ready for challenge: People’s Conference chief Sajad Lone and ex-PDP MLA Imran Reza Ansari in Srinagar.  

Sajad Lone of the Peoples Conference (PC) said here on Friday that his party was caught unawares by the coming together of the National Conference (NC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Congress. Their sole aim was to stall the “PC from forming a government in J&K”.

“We continue to have the requisite numbers [for government formation]. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti did not have the support of a majority of former PDP legislators. This contemptuous presumption that elected leaders are cattle and can be herded is ridiculous. I am ready to prove it on the floor of the Assembly,” Mr. Lone said.

However, Mr. Lone said, he respected Governor Satya Pal Malik’s decision to dissolve the Assembly. He dared Ms. Mufti to challenge the dissolution in court.

Mr. Lone on Wednesday evening staked claim to form a government with the BJP’s support. He claimed to have the backing of 18 MLAs from other parties. The PDP had also claimed the support of 56 MLAs in the 87-member Assembly.

Denying reports of any horse trading, Mr. Lone said money was with those people and leaders who ruled the J&K in the past. “Where will I raise money to do horse trading,” he asked.

He said the PDP was not serious about forming a government. “The party was lying. Even the letter shot off to Mr. Malik was not written to stake claim for forming a government,” he said.

‘Blatant lie’

“The claim that the alliance of NC, PDP and Congress was formed to protect Article 35A and Article 370 was also a blatant lie. The Congress eroded the special status 95 times and made amendments at least 52 times,” he said.

Describing Article 35A and Article 370 as “sacred for the people of J&K”, Mr. Lone said his party would reach out to the people and contest the next elections.

“The PC has emerged as an alternative to the traditional politics of exploitation and misrule practised by the twin-family political monopoly that has used blackmail and expedient ideological ambiguity to deprive J&K of peace and prosperity. What I speak in Delhi is what I will say in Srinagar,” he said.

On the BJP alliance, Mr. Lone said it was no sin as both Ms. Mufti and Mr. Abdullah had allied with it in the past.

As for BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav’s remarks against Pakistan being behind the NC-PDP-Congress alliance, which he later backtracked on, Mr. Lone said, “I would not be surprised if the accusation proves true.”

Mr. Lone was joined by former PDP legislator Imran Ansari, who joined the party. “There is a queue to join us. You will see more faces joining us soon,” Mr. Ansari said.

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 3:07:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/jk-politics-i-had-the-numbers-says-sajad-lone/article25580915.ece

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