Omar Abdullah rules out pre-poll alliance with INDIA bloc ally PDP; Mehbooba terms it ‘painful development’

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Omar Abdullah

Omar Abdullah
| Photo Credit: ANI

National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah ruled out a pre-poll alliance with INDIA bloc ally Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday. PDP president and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti termed the development as “a painful setup for the people“.

The announcement has brought to the fore growing differences within the four-year-old alliance, the Peoples Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), which was seeking a return to the position before August 5, 2019 when Article 370 was abrogated and joined hands to defeat the BJP in elections.

“The NC was ready to surrender south Kashmir’s seat (Anantnag-Rajouri) to Congress. The PDP stood third in the last Parliament election. How is it that the number one and number two party will concede the seat to number third? There is no question of supporting the PDP on the seat. The PDP is out due to a situation,” Mr. Abdullah said.

The former J&K CM said the party has finalised the candidates for all the three seats in Kashmir. “We will extend support to Congress on both seats of Jammu and as well as on the seat of Ladakh,” Mr. Abdullah said.

He accused the PDP of frequently targeting the NC. “What coalition dharma is it that the PDP leaders target the NC and its leaders? On every raising day of the PDP, they targeted the NC. The PDP even joined [former CM] Ghulam Nabi Azad recently in targeting [NC president] Dr. Farooq Abdullah,” Mr. Abdullah added.

Even on the recent Pakistan election results, the PDP mentioned the 1987 election to target the NC, the former CM said. “How can my worker forget about anti-NC songs played in PDP rallies,” Mr. Abdullah asked.

Mr. Abdullah’s statement comes amid the ongoing talks with the Congress, which is at the forefront of the INDIA bloc. J&K and Ladakh have six Lok Sabha seats. The BJP won three seats in the 2019 election — one from Ladakh and two from the Jammu region.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti termed the development as “unfortunate and painful”.

“The PDP was ready to sacrifice all three seats in Kashmir if people wanted that. The PAGD was a democratic resistance, despite attempts by New Delhi to break it. It gave hope to people living in despair. It has come as a setback to people. What the BJP could not do so far, a PAGD member did that. The NC has changed the goalpost from fighting the BJP to the PDP. We are down but not out. We will go to the people now,” Ms. Mufti said.

She said Parliament requires voices that talk about Kashmir and 22 crore Muslims of India. “Muslim houses are being demolished and mosques dismantled. And these voices should also represent those who believe in [Mahatma] Gandhi’s India,” Ms. Mufti added.

The PDP is planning on holding a consultation with the Congress before taking a final decision.

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