Your vote should send strong message against abrogation of Art 370: Omar

Srinagar: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Thursday said people should vote for the BJP if they are happy with the abrogation of Article 370, which bestowed special status on the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state.

“People should decide and send a message to Delhi. If the people of Jammu and Kashmir are satisfied with the August 5, 2019, decision, then they should not vote for the National Conference,” the former chief minister of the erstwhile state said at a party programme.

“But if they are unhappy with the abrogation of Article 370, then they should come out and vote for the candidates of the National Conference,” he added.

On August 5, 2019, the Centre abrogated the provisions of Article 370 and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The move was upheld by the Supreme Court in December. Abdullah also expressed hope that people will vote wisely in the elections.

“The decision has to be taken by the voter. The way we were deceived and humiliated. If not by any other means, at least, through our votes we should raise our voice. It is a big opportunity for the voters in Srinagar to fill the political vacuum that has developed here,” Abdullah said.

Asked if he would campaign for the opposition INDIA bloc outside the Union Territory, he said, “Who am I to campaign outside Jammu and Kashmir? I am a humble worker of the National Conference.

My responsibility is towards the three seats (in Kashmir) for the National Conference and to help the Congress on the two seats in Jammu.”

“The way the situation is developing in Ladakh, we are hopeful of a win there as well. I have no intention of campaigning outside Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

Abdullah said the National Conference is putting all its efforts to ensure that the Congress candidates secure victory in the Jammu and the Udhampur-Kathua seats.

The Congress has assured him that it will use its influence in Kashmir to help the National Conference candidates.

Asked if votes will be divided due to the People’s Democratic Party’s decision to contest the polls from the three seats in Kashmir where its INDIA bloc partner the National Conference has put up candidates, he said,

“It was anyway doubtful if the People’s Democratic Party’s votes would get transferred to the National Conference.”

“The question should be whether we would have got their vote or not? Take the district development council poll results and see how many votes were transferred between the National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party,” he said.

Abdullah also spoke about the security of his party’s candidates and star campaigners.

“Our candidates’ security has not been changed (upgraded) even after two days. Here, people abuse the National Conference and they get personal security officers within an hour. Our star campaigners are not getting upgraded security. It looks like the administration is being used to harass us. We have been fighting against political parties, we will fight the administration as well,” he said.