J&K Polls: BJP will get only handful of votes in Valley, says Omar
New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today exuded confidence that his party, National Conference, will do fairly well in the upcoming Assembly polls in the state and predicted that BJP will get only “handful of votes” in the Valley.
Omar praised Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for supporting him and his government in the last six years and criticised certain Congress leaders, including PCC Saifuddin Soz, who “never let NC settle” in the state.
“I will be very surprised to see if people vote for BJP in Valley. They will get a handful of votes. A trickle here and trickle there. There will be no significant impact (of BJP in the Valley),” he told Karan Thapar in an interview on a news channel.
Omar also expressed confidence on his party's prospects in the elections. “I am definitely hopeful for that,” Omar said when asked whether he felt that election results would be surprising.
Omar said his government has taken various pro-development initiatives in its tenure. “Militancy is at the lowest in last six years. There has been a fair amount of development. There is positive feedback from various parts of the state,” Omar said.
To a question on Sonia Gandhi's recent criticism of the state government for not implementing the Food Security Act (FSA), which was implemented by the UPA government, he said the people around her had given wrong impression on the matter.
“Let me put it on record unequivocally, it was not inefficiency. It was a considered decision not to implement the Act because that would have deprived 25 lakh citizens of Jammu and Kashmir government supplied ration.
“JK is the only state in the country that would have suffered on account of FSA. Most unfortunate part is the people around Sonia Gandhi are well aware of this fact,” he said.
Omar said former minister Ambika Soni had pleaded before her cabinet colleague K V Thomas that JK should not suffer on this account.
The Chief Minister said, “I have greatest respect for Sonia Gandhi. She has been supporting this government for last six years and we are grateful to her.
“Unfortunately, people around her were giving wrong information to her. It was a considered decision and I have no regrets for not implementing the Food Security Act in Jammu and Kashmir.”
The polls for 87-member state Assembly are scheduled to begin from Tuesday.
Omar also rejected criticism of running away from his family bastion in Ganderbal constituency.
“I did not run away. I took the decision of not to contest from Ganderbal three years ago. Most of the senior leaders of the party were aware of this decision.
“It was not because of the fear of losing Ganderbal. People of Gandarbal have been electing my grand father, my father and me. Now let the people of Ganderbal have a local candidate,” he said when asked reasons behind his decision of not contesting the polls from Ganderbal. Omar has filed his nomination from Beerwah constituency.
He also hit out at PCC chief Soz for “being an opportunist” saying he was never a well wisher of NC-Congress coalition government.
“Unfortunately Soz saheb has always been an opportunist. This is nothing new and this will always continue. Soz sahib was one of the few people in Congress who did not allow this government to settle down.
“For the last six years he has run the campaign that the CM's post should be rotated. He has never been a well-wisher of the coalition government and I don't expect him to say anything nice about me now,” Omar said.
The Chief Minister said that BJP will not be able to achieve its “Mission 44” (half way mark for getting majority in the 87-member Assembly) and claimed that all party including NC, Congress and People's Democratic Party will get Kashmiri Pandits votes.
“I take objection to statement that all Kashmiri Pandits will blindly vote for BJP and that no other party will get their votes. Kashmiri Pandits' votes will come to NC, Congress and to PDP also. It is wrong to say that all Kashmiri Pandits will vote for BJP,” he said.
Responding to a question, Omar said he was not opposed to the idea of state getting a chief minister from any other religion.
“Jammu and Kashmir is a Muslim majority state. But it is a secular state. We have never said that ruling the state is the exclusive right of any particular family. Let the people of the state decide. Jammu and Kashmir has sizeable number of Sikhs, there are Buddhists in Ladakh. Besides, there are Kashmiri Pandits.
“Unfortunately when someone say about Hindu Chief Minister, they always think of someone from plains of Jammu,” he said.
Omar said BJP, which is campaigning aggressively in the state, has varying views on Article 370.
“BJP is tying itself in knots on this subject... It is tripping on this subject as different leaders speak different voices on this issue,” he said.
Reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi comments, made today while campaigning in the state, that dynasty politics have “looted” the state, Omar said BJP has its own many dynasties.
“I look forward to him (Modi) to prove the charges. I would say to him, please prove them. And I have heard these charges too many times to be upset,” he said.