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LS Polls 2024 | Omar Abdullah to contest from Baramulla constituency

Aga Ruhullah is NC candidate for Srinagar
04:52 AM Apr 13, 2024 IST | ZAHOOR MALIK
ls polls 2024   omar abdullah to contest from baramulla constituency

Srinagar, Apr 12: Former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) Vice President Omar Abdullah will contest the Lok Sabha (LS) polls from the Baramulla constituency. Former Minister and prominent Shia leader, Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi, is the NC's candidate for the prestigious Srinagar seat.


The announcement about their candidature was made by party President Dr Farooq Abdullah at a press conference here today. NC has already announced a strong candidate, Mian Altaf Ahmad, a prominent Gujjar leader, for the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency.


In Baramulla constituency Peoples Conference (PC) has also already decided to field its President Sajad Gani Lone and PDP the former Rajya Sabha member, Fayaz Ahmad Mir. For the Srinagar constituency, Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra is the PDP candidate and Mohammad Ashraf Mir that of the Apni Party.


Addressing the press conference today, Dr Farooq Abdullah said, “Today we are going to announce our two party candidates for parliamentary polls. Omar Abdullah Sahab will contest from north Kashmir (Baramulla) constituency and Aga Ruhullah Sahab from central Kashmir (Srinagar) constituency.” The NC President is presently the member parliament from Srinagar constituency but has decided not to contest this Lok Sabha polls due to health reasons.


After Dr Farooq Abdullah’s announcement, Omar Abdullah addressed the media. He said that NC's fight in parliamentary elections this time is not against any individual but against the powers behind these candidates. "If you see my fight in north Kashmir (Baramulla constituency), it is not against any candidate there but against the powers supporting him. Our fight in south Kashmir- Pir Panchal (Anantnag-Rajouri), central Kashmir (Srinagar) and north Kashmir (Baramulla) is against the BJP and New Delhi. My party has decided that I should contest from north Kashmir. Because, if you see all the efforts and measures by BJP and New Delhi are directed at the north Kashmir seat. I want these powers to be defeated in north Kashmir. And our party rightly decided and directed me to contest from north Kashmir and to Aga Ruhullah from Central Kashmir," Omar said.


To a question as to how he feels leaving the NC's stronghold, the Srinagar constituency, and contesting from Baramulla, he said, "If you go by last assembly polls I was elected from Beerwah, which has been now made part of north Kashmir Lok Sabha constituency through delimitation. So, I am technically a north Kashmir contestant. As far as a stronghold is concerned, NC's strongholds are everywhere. As I earlier said, my fight is not against an individual. The same holds true about our party's fight in other constituencies in Kashmir. It is a fight against New Delhi's attempts to prop up its proxies. Till recently they were proxies. Now we know they are openly like BJP candidates. Some days back BJP's Tarun Chug visited Altaf Bukhari's residence, where Sajad Lone was also called and directions were given to him there. This all shows that they are openly working on the directions of the BJP. In north Kashmir, I am not fighting any individual or a regional party. Our contest is directly with BJP and New Delhi."


Asked whether Congress will support NC in Kashmir, the former Chief Minister stated that he does not know why this confusion is being created.


“During our joint press conference in New Delhi in which I was also present, the Congress leaders did not leave any room for any kind of confusion or doubt. They clearly announced that their party and National Conference will contest in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on a 50-50 basis. NC will contest on three seats and Congress on three seats. They will support us on central Kashmir, south Kashmir-Pir Panchal and north Kashmir seats and we will support them in Jammu, Udhampur and Ladakh seats. Dr Farooq Abdullah Sahab has already campaigned for the Congress candidates in Udhampur and Jammu constituencies. I will myself go to Chenab Valley on Sunday and campaign for the Congress candidate there."

Omar stated that Congress has also assured NC its support for "our candidates in the areas in Kashmir and Poonch and Rajouri wherever the party has its stronghold, vote bank or influence."

Asked that does not he feel that I.N.D.I.A bloc allies (NC and PDP) fighting against each other in Kashmir will help the BJP, Omar said that the BJP is nowhere in the electoral fray in Kashmir. "That is our complaint that BJP is not in the fray in Kashmir. How can the BJP take advantage when it is not here? Perhaps you are referring to what I am also saying that some people are working on the directions of the BJP. BJP itself is not actually on the ground,” he said.

To a question as to how he views the contest in south Kashmir, Omar said that every election is tough. "We do not approach any election as an easy election. As far as south Kashmir is concerned the confusion is not on our part. Tell the BJP what they are doing. Their candidate is nowhere in sight. From A team, B team and C team they (BJP) sometimes make (Ghulam Nabi) Azad Sahab announce that he will contest and then again make him say that he will not contest. First BJP and its allies must make it clear who among them is contesting from the south Kashmir seat. We have fielded our candidate and we are hoping InshaAllah he will win," the NC Vice President said.

Addressing the media Aga Ruhullah said that his candidature is an opportunity for him to present the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir on a wider platform." I am not saying right now about parliament and that is up to the people when they elect me. I am talking about the campaigning," he said.

Asked about his known stance regarding unity among like-minded parties and contesting polls together, he said," Unity is always good and I still stand by unity. I would have been glad if we all were united and contesting together. We all need to go for retrospection from all sides as to why we went wrong. We should try to mend our ways. The electoral outcome is not the end of the day. We have to collectively fight for the interests of the people of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.

Responding to Ruhullah’s comments Omar said, “Agha sahab represented the feelings of people of Jammu and Kashmir. Words can be different but Agha Sahab said the same thing which NC has been saying. We did not accept the decision of August 5, 2019. We all ( in NC) wanted unity. Nobody among us wanted to contest on different platforms. We used the same formula for parliamentary seats which we used for District Development Council (DDC) polls. But unfortunately this time they (PDP) did not accept it. We had told Congress that for those partners in I.N.D.I.A bloc who cannot be accommodated in this parliament election, we will  keep doors open for them for seat sharing in assembly polls."

To a question about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech in Udhampur today in which he said that the time is not far when assembly polls will be held in Jammu and Kashmir and that the statehood will also be restored soon, Omar Abdullah said that there is a clear-cut direction  from the Supreme Court to hold assembly polls in J&K before September 30. "What favour is Prime Minister Sahab doing to us by saying that assembly polls will be held soon. It would have been a favour had he conducted assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir before the Supreme Court direction. Holding assembly elections has become a compulsion for them now. As far as statehood is concerned, till now they have not been able to explain to us as to why was statehood snatched from us. We can understand that abrogation of Article 370 was in their manifesto for some time but what kind of justice is it that you also snatched the statehood of J&K and made it a union territory? In fact, they could not explain convincingly their decision even in the Supreme Court. “

Asked about the statement of Prime Minister that no one has caused as much damage to Jammu and Kashmir as family-run parties, the NC Vice President said, "We keep on listening to these things from the Prime Minister. What is new in it? While we wait for development programmes from him, he repeats these things. He has been talking about dynasty politics for the last 10 years. I have been keeping on saying that the BJP has no objection to dynasty politics. They are only opposed to those families in politics who are opposed to BJP. You see their mandates this time. These mandates have gone to several members of political families. BJP has itself given tickets  to the family members of their leaders. If dynasty politics is okay for the BJP then why do have they objections against our dynasty politics? This is only because we were opposing them, are opposing them and will oppose them."

On PM's statement that for the sake of power, the opposition had built a wall of Article 370 in J&K and that after its demolition and burial, a new era of peace and development has started, NC Vice President said," I do not think I need to react. Let the people react. If what the Prime Minister says is right then let them field BJP candidates in Kashmir and ask the people to vote in the name of BJP. Field BJP candidates to prove your claims are true on Article 370, normalcy and development and see how many votes the BJP candidates would get. Stop propping up your A team, B team and C team. When you claim that you did so much for J&K and we did nothing, then we should lose our deposits in elections. Why so many efforts are being made to defeat us? Why Tarun Chugh had to bring them on one stage to defeat us? If we are politically finished and we have not done anything then the people will not accept us. If people will not accept us why are we being mentioned in BJP leaders' speeches? Why agencies are being used against us? Why are we being targeted in your speeches? If we have not done anything then please field BJP candidates on these seats. If the BJP candidates will not lose their deposits, I will leave politics."

The former Chief Minister was also asked a question about the senior BJP leader and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's statement that the opposition is leveling baseless allegations that democracy is in danger, while during the emergency, imposed by Indira Gandhi, he could not attend the last rites of his family member. Omar stated that usually, people say that this time is like emergency time." The only difference is that Indira Gandhi named it an emergency but today when the atmosphere is like that of an emergency it is not being described as an emergency. Today media is not free. Today democracy is in more danger than emergency time. At that time Indira Gandhi showed courage and held polls, released all jailed leaders and did not arrest anybody before the polls. Today if the BJP fears danger from any opposition candidate he or she is being arrested through agencies. If there is no emergency then release them. Let them come into the electoral field and see whom the people will support."

Asked about the performance of NC MPs in parliament Omar said that the parliament record is witness how effectively they, particularly Dr Farooq Abdullah and Hasnain Masoodi presented the feelings of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in Parliament.