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Jammu KashmirNC to go solo in Lok Sabha Polls contest

NC to go solo in Lok Sabha Polls contest


Srinagar, Feb 15: The National Conference, biggest regional party of and Kashmir, on Thursday announced it would contest the forthcoming and possible assembly polls in the Union Territory “on its own”.

This was announced by the party chief and Lok Sabha MP Farooq Abdullah here. It comes as yet another setback to the INDIA bloc as well as the regional PAGD alliance.

“Elections will happen and I think both assembly and Parliament elections will be held together.

“As far as seat sharing is concerned, I want to make it clear that the National Conference will contest elections on its own. There are no two views about it,” Abdullah told reporters here.

The National Conference has been a part of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) grouping formed last year and comprises the Congress, AAP, RJD, Shiv Sena (UBT), Trinamool Congress, DMK, Left parties among others.

The AAP and Trinamool Congress have also said they would be going alone in Punjab and West Bengal.

The decision of the National Conference also signals an end to the People's Alliance on Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), which was formed ahead of the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019. Earlier, the regional grouping had indicated that it will fight elections jointly.

While there is no word about holding of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, which was downgraded from the state to a Union Territory, the parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held. This would be the first major democratic exercise after the special status of the erstwhile state was abrogated in August 2019.

Abdullah welcomed the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Jammu and Kashmir next week. “The prime minister is coming, it is a good thing. He is going to announce some projects”.

On the Supreme Court ruling on electoral bonds, Abdullah while welcoming the verdict said people have a right to know where the money for political parties is coming from.

“May the Almighty make this happen that the government accepts this (verdict) and the political parties follow this direction to declare how much money they got and from where they got it.

“People should know where the money power is coming from. It is necessary. I hope it happens before the general election,” Abdullah added.

Abdullah, who has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with alleged scam in Jammu and Kashmir Association, echoed similar views of the opposition parties that the federal probe agency was being used to target their leaders.

“I am myself under the ED scanner. I will appear before them, I am not scared of the ED or anyone else. Let them do what they want. If they think they can finish off the National Conference by jailing Farooq Abdullah, it will not happen because the National Conference is a movement,” he said.

On the farmers' protest, the Lok Sabha member from Srinagar hoped that better sense prevails over the Centre and a resolution is found to the issue.

“When the farm bills were brought in, the Opposition made noise that a select committee should be formed and the lacunae in these bills be addressed. But they brought the bills on the back of a brute majority. What was the result? Nearly 750 farmers were martyred. When the UP elections were around the corner, they took back all three bills.

“Now, general elections are round the corner and today the farmers are again protesting. I pray that better sense prevails on them (Centre) and no innocent farmer gets killed,” he said.

On the chaotic situation in Pakistan and whether it can affect India, Abdullah said a “stable Pakistan is needed for stable India. Unstable Pakistan is not good for us”.

None of the three major parties, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the Pakistan People's Party, or the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf have won the necessary seats in the February 8 general elections to secure a majority in the National Assembly and, therefore, will be unable to form a government on their own.

Abdullah condemned the killing of labourers from Punjab by terrorists here last week.

“It is unfortunate that innocent people who have nothing to do with are being killed. But the one who killed them knew what would happen to their families. Does any religion allow killing innocents? Religion does not permit killing even the guilty. That is the job of the law. So, I condemn it,” he said.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said the government which introduced the electronic voting machines in India should not have done so as it had the potential to be manipulated.

“Yes, EVMs can be tampered with. When EVMs were brought here (J&K), we were in the government. Mohammad Shafi (Uri) sahib asked them if there was a possibility of manipulation. Initially, the officer was silent but on being questioned again, he admitted that it can be done.

“The government at that time should not have introduced these machines if they can snatch the rights of the people. What would have happened? The election results would have come after two months,” he added.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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