Farooq Abdullah, 85, who was re-elected uncontested as president of the National Conference (NC), on Monday asked the Army and the government to stay away from the election process in J&K.
Narrating an episode from 1996 when the Army allegedly warned locals to stay away from voting machines in J&K’s Doda area, Dr. Abdullah said, “I want to tell the Army and the government not to interfere in election (this time). Otherwise, there will be a storm that you will not be able to control.”
Dr. Abdullah was declared the party president uncontested in front of hundreds of party delegates assembled at the grave of NC founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah on his 117 th birth anniversary in Srinagar’s Hazratbal area. The elections were held immediately after special prayers were offered at the grave by the top party leaders, including vice-president Omar Abdullah.
“I wasn’t willing to continue as president. However, people in the NC insisted that I cannot leave at this crucial juncture. I agreed, but they should prepare the next generation for leading the party in the future,” Dr. Abdullah said.
Dr. Abdullah asked people to remain steadfast like Bengalis who supported Mamata Banerjee despite the BJP’s attempts at creating hurdles. “We saw how legislators were bought in Telangana and other places. They will try things here as well. We have to show steadfastness,” Dr. Abdullah added.
Promising to make people apologise for what they did to J&K, Dr. Abdullah said, “Democracy and Kashmiriyat will return”.
Referring to his party’s boycott call of panchayat and urban local body elections in 2018, Dr. Abdullah described it as “a mistake”. “We won’t boycott any election now onwards. I even ask Omar, who says he won’t fight elections [in the UT], to fight the elections and defeat them on ground,” Dr. Abdullah said.
Dr. Abdullah underlined that posts like Superintendents of Police and Secretaries in J&K “were being held by people from outside”. “Are we so dumb that we cannot handle our affairs? We are being enslaved. This too shall pass. Oppressors will rot in hell,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, junior Abdullah said his party is up against multiple teams set up by the BJP in J&K, without naming any party. “Today decisions on providing security were being taken on the basis of threat perception to BJP. Any party which is a threat to BJP is provided the least security,” Mr. Abdullah said.