Dissolve Assembly, Omar asks Mehbooba

SRINAGAR: Former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has asked PDP president Mehbooba Mufti to recommend dissolution of state Assembly for conduct of fresh elections in the state if she is “unable or unwilling” to assume the responsibility as Chief Minister.

In an open letter to Mehbooba Mufti, the National Conference leader said “to dilly-dally is the biggest disservice you can do” to people of the state as they should not be denied an elected government.

“If you are unable or unwilling to assume the responsibilities that are being placed on your shoulders, then you must do your duty to the people, recommend to His Excellency The Governor to dissolve the Assembly, and let the people make a fresh decision in an election,” he said.

Omar said Mehbooba’s reluctance to step up and take charge meant that in less than a year, the state had to be placed under central rule again.

“No state should be denied an elected government, but I took some consolation from the belief, alas mistaken, that central rule would be a short-lived affair and you would take over after the four days of mourning,” he said.

The working president of National Conference said the people of the state had a number of expectations.

“The flood victims expected to see a bigger flood relief package; industry expected to see the return of power projects; contractors expected to see more money for development; and unemployed youngsters expected to see more jobs.

“Civil society was heartened to read that you were negotiating to ensure that divisive issues like the attack on our flag and threat to our special constitutional status would end,” he said.

Omar said the PDP president cannot blame the people for expecting to see all this happen. “Of course you can’t, because this was part of the information being fed to us from people around you”.

He said Mehbooba’s silence resulted in others from her party rushing in to fill the void.

“People close to you, or pretending to be close to you, started to spin your reluctance as a negotiating tactic. It was made known that the alliance was teetering on the brink of an abyss.

“The Agenda for Alliance, the final policy document bequeathed to you by Mufti Sahib, had been ignored by your allies and you were angry.

“We were told that you would not takeover unless you had firm assurances from no lesser person than the Prime Minister.

“That unless parts of it were implemented immediately, you would walk away from the alliance with the BJP,” he added.

Commenting on the PDP core group meeting on Sunday, Omar said the people of the state were expecting some announcements but it appears it “will be business as usual when the business of governing resumes”.

Omar asked Mehbooba what she was waiting for when her party’s alliance with the BJP stands and no fresh negotiations are taking place.

“So why is the state under central rule? What are you waiting for, Mehbooba?”

He said she should “either rise to the occasion or else step back. The people of the state cannot be expected to wait for you to make up your mind.”

Taking a jibe at the PDP leader, the former chief minister said what Mehbooba has clarified is that “the Agenda for Alliance is ‘a sacred document’, the same document that only a few days ago had been termed a failure by your own senior colleague.

“Thank you for clarifying that no new demands are being made of your allies, that no concessions are being sought. At least we know that it will be business as usual when the business of governing resumes.”

Omar said he would be terrified if he were in Mehbooba’s place.

“I can’t imagine how difficult it would be for you to take over without the benefit of your father’s guidance and wisdom to steer your decisions.

“Unfortunately, you don’t get to choose the circumstances under which you assume the responsibilities of the CM of J&K, but your fear cannot be grounds enough to deny the people an elected government.

“The road ahead will be rocky and you will not know who you can turn to for objective, impartial advice but you must either rise to the occasion or else step back. The people of the state cannot be expected to wait for you to make up your mind,” he said.

Omar said taking over now is not a sign of being power hungry, “but not taking over is certainly an abuse of the trust the people placed in you and your party”.

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