It will be unfair if assembly elections are not held along with Lok Sabha polls: Omar Abdullah

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Jammu: National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah on Monday said his party will raise the demand for holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the legislative assembly in Jammu and Kashmir with the Election Commission of India (ECI) team, stating it would be an injustice to people if the assembly elections are postponed.

The former chief minister also took a dig at the Congress over the seat-sharing issue, saying they are free to give any of the seats to the PDP, but it would be difficult for the regional party to secure a victory.

“We have only one demand to raise with them (ECI team): the assembly polls should be held along with the Lok Sabha elections,” he told reporters here in reply to a question about whether the National Conference (NC) will meet the Election Commission of India team, scheduled to visit Jammu and Kashmir.

Abdullah said that his party leaders would meet the team and raise this demand. “I won’t meet them (ECI team). Our party leaders will meet them. The provincial presidents of Jammu and Kashmir regions, along with the leaders, will meet the ECI team in Jammu and Srinagar, respectively,” Abdullah said.

The former chief minister said if the Lok Sabha elections can be held in Jammu and Kashmir then why can’t the assembly elections be held simultaneously. “It will be unfair to people if the elections to the assembly are not held along with the Lok Sabha polls to save the BJP. If the situation is conducive to holding the Lok Sabha polls and getting employees to take part in the PM’s rally in Srinagar then assembly elections are also possible,” he said.

Replying to a question about the Congress leaders’ remarks that they wanted to give one seat to the PDP, the NC leader hit out at them and said, “Who is the Congress to give away seats. If the Congress is interested in giving a seat to the PDP, they better their seats. They have three seats. They have Jammu, Udhampur and Ladakh seats. Who is stopping them? Let them give.”

He further said the NC is open to seat-sharing on three seats but blamed for rigidity. “It is fifty per cent. Show me any state in which seat sharing has a 50 per cent ratio,” he said. Abdullah said there is very little scope for the PDP to win on three seats in Jammu, Udhampur and Ladakh.

Replying to another question on the INDIA bloc and the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) difference, he said, “The PAGD was never an electoral alliance. It was an alliance based on ideology. Those parties who think that PAGD should benefit only from seat-sharing are blaming PAGD for the wrong reasons.”

The former chief minister said that neither PAGD nor the INDIA bloc was just about seats for them. “It was about ideas – it was about a goal. We stand by that goal. Those who feel that the INDIA alliance and the PAGD should only be about seats, this question is for them to answer, not for us,” he said.

Abdullah said that his party is committed to the idea of INDIA bloc and the PAGD. “We have already given three seats to the INDIA alliance. What more do you want from us? Who is saying that we are not in the alliance? We don’t have space to give them more seats. We have never broken an alliance. Out of six seats, three seats are already given in alliance,” he added.

The former chief minister stated they have never said that they are not part of an alliance or breaking away from the alliance. “We are always saying that make the INDIA alliance successful in the parliamentary elections and doors are open for the assembly elections,” he added.

Reacting to of PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti’s remarks on seat-sharing, Abdullah said, “The PDP had committed to it. Mehbooba Mufti categorically said in the Mumbai conclave of the INDIA alliance that whatever decision Farooq Abdullah takes with regard to seat distribution for the Parliament in Jammu and Kashmir is acceptable to the PDP. We were all there.”

Terming Mufti’s remarks to contest against him as unfortunate, he said that the INDIA bloc was never about personalities. “It is okay if she wants to damage herself and the alliance. What can I say? First, she does not know whether I am contesting the elections or not. I don’t know where I am contesting. If it is decided by my party that I have to contest then whoever wants to contest can do so. Who am I to stop anyone from contesting? Let anyone come and contest the elections, it is democracy,” he said.

The NC leader said that he has never taken any election for granted. “It won’t be easy or difficult for me in case Mehbooba Mufti contests. It won’t make any difference for me,” he added.

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