National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah and CPI(M) leader M.Y. Tarigami have expressed displeasure and anger over the lack of Opposition unity during the Vice-President election.
Mr. Abdullah was also critical about Congress leaders’ recent comments in J&K ahead of the likely first-ever Assembly election in the Union Territory.
“I believe that rather than being taken for granted as an automatic participant in all Opposition meetings and activities in Delhi, JKNC should put its own interests first,” Mr. Abdullah told The Hindu.
Mr. Abdullah’s tweet on Thursday caused a flutter in the political circles in J&K. “Opposition unity is a bit of a chimera. Ultimately political parties will do what’s in their own interest and that’s as it should be. J&K saw this when we were left high and dry by “friends” in 2019. It’s time for JKNC to do what suits the party rather than waste time chasing ghosts,” Mr. Abdullah had said.
Many saw his tweet as a commentary on the local grand alliance too - the four-party Peoples Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) that is fighting for pre-August 5, 2019 position for J&K.
However, Mr. Abdullah clarified that his tweet was in the context of “Opposition unity” at the national level, “especially in light of the decision of Trinamool Congress to abstain in the V-P election”.
He also questioned the Congress’ electoral position in J&K. “When the JKPCC president says ‘Congress will emerge as the single largest party in Assembly election’ then we are not allies, we are rivals,” Mr. Abdullah said.
J&K Congress president G.A. Mir recently said his party will win the majority of seats in J&K. “Incidentally, even the BJP State president a few weeks ago talked about BJP emerging as the single largest party in the next Assembly election. So going by the statements of the two leaders, they will be fighting directly against PAGD and JKNC,” Mr. Abdullah added.
Mr. Abdullah said his personal views were that the Gupkar alliance “should be fighting the Assembly polls together”.
“However, this has not yet been discussed formally in the party either by the Political Affairs Committee or the Central Working Committee. It will also require to be formally discussed in the PAGD as well. That said, this is all premature, because there is no indication about when and if Assembly elections will even be held in the near future,” he added.
Backing Mr. Abdullah’s stand to contest polls together, senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Naeem Akhtar said, “The times demand that we think above the aspirational politics of party cadre. People and voters want us to contest together and leave no space for the BJP.”
Mr. Akhtar, a close aide of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, said Muslims in the Pir Panjal and the Chenab valleys were facing ghettoisation at the hands of the BJP for petty gains like securing a Lok Sabha seat for the Jammu region.
“The BJP has marked new boundaries in J&K on communal lines. This kind of politics requires a democratic resistance within the Constitution,” Mr. Akhtar added.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tarigami also termed the decision of Trinamool to abstain from voting in the Vice-Presidential election as “wrong and unfortunate”.
“There was a growing feeling among the Opposition parties that there should be unity so that the arbitrariness of the BJP government can be stopped, but this kind of decision by Trinamool is not only inappropriate but also stupid,” Mr. Tarigami said. He said the decision’s consequences “will be very bad in the future”.