Omar Abdullah clarifies why he decided to support rival PDP; says governor's report on horse-trading should be made public

NC leader Omar Abdullah Thursday asked Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik to make public reports about horse-trading in government formation in the state, saying people had a right to know who was buying legislators.

His demand came after Malik, defending his decision to dissolve the state assembly, claimed "extensive horse-trading" was going on and it would have been impossible for parties with "opposing political ideologies" to form a stable government.

On Wednesday, PDP with the support of the National Conference (NC) and the Congress staked claim for forming government, but their efforts were cut short as Malik decided to dissolve the assembly, which was in suspended animation since 19 June.

NC vice-president Omar Abdullah. PTI

NC vice-president Omar Abdullah. PTI

"If the governor has himself accepted that MLAs were being bought over, money was changing hands, people should know who was doing it. If the governor has such reports, he should make them public.

"These are not our accusations. It was the governor who said horse-trading was happening and money was changing hands. We want to know where did this money come from? We want to know at whose behest this money was being given and who was being bought?" Abdullah told reporters.

He said allegations of use of money and horse-trading cannot apply to the NC-PDP-Congress grand alliance, Malik is referring to another letter in which Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone had staked claim for government formation.

"The governor said horse-trading and use of money for engineering defections had to be stopped. In our case, three parties (PDP, Congress and NC) came together. This accusation does not stand against us that money was used.

"Following our letter (PDP president Mehbooba Mufti's letter to governor), another letter was sent to the governor claiming support of 16 or 18 MLAs. The governor has said on this letter that this is horse-trading and money was changing hands. This cannot be ignored," he said without naming Lone.

The Raj Bhawan had issued a statement Wednesday explaining why the governor had dissolved the assembly.

The NC leader said, "The governor gave reasons for not accepting the claim by the PDP. He said parties were different political ideologies were coming together. Did you ask this question in 2015 when the BJP and the PDP tied up? That time it was dubbed as coming together of north pole and south pole, you had no problems then."

"Today, you are telling other parties that you cannot come together even though the difference on some important issues between PDP, NC and Congress are small compared to BJP and PDP," Abdullah said.

He said as far as the NC is consider, power was never its aim and it had made clear that it does not want to be part of the government but lend outside support to safeguard Article 35A of the Constitution before the Supreme Court.

"We weren't going to be part of this government. We wanted that Article 35A be defended in the Supreme Court to protect the state's special status. We want to bring the state out of the present mess, knowing fully well that the NC would have suffered the most politically. But we kept party interests on the back burner in the state's larger interest," he said.

On allegations by some BJP leaders that the alliance was formed at Pakistan's behest, Abdullah asked BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav to produce evidence or apologise.

"If you have the courage Ram Madhav, bring the proof of your accusation to the people's court. Let us see where you stand. Stop this politics of cowardice.

"We have seen a lot of people like you who indulge in shoot and scoot politics. You level baseless allegations and then lie low. You should either give proof of allegations or apologise," he said.

BJP leaders are disrespecting the sacrifice of nearly 3,000 NC workers, who were killed for refusing to do Pakistan's bidding, the former chief minister said.

"I am sorry Madhav, you are disrespecting sacrifices of my 3,000 colleagues who refused to dance to the tunes of Pakistan. They died because they did not take instructions from across the border.

"More of my workers have died in these 30 years than your workers have ever died. You are asking us about sacrifices and what we have done for the country. What we have done we know it," he said.

To a question on relevance of mainstream political parties in J-K when they could not form government even with the required numbers, he said the dissolution of the Assembly showed the relevance of such parties.

"Madhav is not unhappy over PDP, Congress and NC coming together. He is unhappy that his dream of forming government in the state remains unfulfilled. If any thing, that shows our relevance," Abdullah said.

If his party would challenge the assembly's dissolution in court, he said the NC did not have a reason.

"We don't have any basis on which to challenge the governor's decision. The primary party that can challenge the decision is the party which had sent the letter (staking claim for government formation). The letter went from the PDP to the extent that the NC had verbally committed its support and we stand by that decision," he said.

In a sarcastic remark over non-functioning of the Raj Bhawan's fax machine due to which Mehbooba's and Lone's letters could not be delivered to Malik, he said,

"This is the first time that a fax machine has scuttled democracy."  "Only outgoing fax, no incoming fax. This fax machine needs to be investigated", he said.

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Updated Date: Nov 22, 2018 16:29:11 IST

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