Other States

Omar Abdullah’s close aide Rana quits party

Former MLA Devender Singh Rana addresses his supporters before resigning from the basic membership of the National Conference on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Two senior National Conference (NC) leaders, including the political adviser of its vice-president Omar Abdullah, resigned from the party on Sunday, in what is the first major split within the party in the Jammu province since the Centre ended J&K’s special constitutional position in 2019.

Mr. Abdullah's close aide and former legislator Devender Singh Rana and ex-legislator Surjeet Singh Salathia submitted their resignations to party president Farooq Abdullah.

“The resignations were accepted,” an NC spokesman said.

These resignations have come at a time when the BJP is galvanising its support to have a Hindu Chief Minister from the Jammu province whenever the next Assembly elections are held.

Biding time

Mr. Rana has kept his cards close to his chest on whether he will join the BJP or cobble together an amalgam of political parties from Jammu.

“I vow to pursue the Jammu declaration, a political road map emanating from Jammu, religiously and resolutely to retrieve the glorious ethos of inclusive J&K to its pristine glory again. Nothing will deter me in realising this objective,” Mr. Rana said.

He said fair play and justice should not only be the bedrock of the political system but even the perception of one being appeased at the cost of another due to politico-strategic expediency should also become an imperative of the past, in an indirect reference to the Kashmir-based parties. “The Jammu region has hugely suffered on all these counts over the decades,” he added.

Mr. Rana recently met Dogra Swabhiman Sangthan chief and ex-MP Choudhary Lal Singh and former Peoples Democratic Party leader Surinder Choudhary, in an apparent bid to rope in their support too for a Jammu-centric political platform.

Mr. Rana is also the brother of senior BJP leader Jitendra Singh, who serves as Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 6:06:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/omar-abdullahs-close-aide-rana-quits-party/article36935188.ece

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