APM Called By NC: GoI Free To Conduct Polls

‘Not Running Election Boycott Campaign’; Seeks Removal Of ASG On Article 35A; PDP Stays Away    

SRINAGAR — National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah Thursday presided over a meeting of prominent politicians from various political parties of the state at his Gupkar residence in Srinagar. 

In the meeting NC vice President Omar Abdullah, General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, Senior leader Ab Rahim Rather, Mohammad Shafi Uri, senior Congress leader Taj Mohiuddin, CPIM leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, DPN President Ghulam Hassan Mir were present. The PDP stayed away despite invitation. PDP spokesman later said that agenda of the meeting was not disclosed as a result of which party decided not to participate.   

Talking to media on the sidelines of the meeting, Omar Abdullah said meeting discussed threadbare the state’s current political and security scenario. “Dr Farooq apprised the leadership from other political parties about NC’s stand on Article 35A, ULB and Panchayat polls and its decision of staying away from these elections. They also spoke at length about issues confronting the state and gave their valuable feedback to our party President,” Omar said. 

Two important issues were raised in the meeting and were subsequently agreed upon by all, he said. “Most important was the issue of Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, employed by the state to defend Art 35 A in the SC. It was unanimously resolved that the ASG, who was supposed to represent state government, exceeded his brief while defending Art 35A in the Supreme Court and violated the trust reposed on him. He was not representing any political party nor was he the representative of Government of India. He was supposed to confine his arguments as per the directions from the state government which he clearly violated. Thereby we don’t trust the ASG anymore and the leaders in the meeting resolved that the state government immediately asks him to stand down”.

He said the state government must handover the case to the counsels who will put forth the arguments of the state and not of any individual or party to defend Article 35A in the SC. 

Asking government of India to clear its stand on Article 35A in and outside the courts, Omar said: “It’s not only NC which is asking for GoI’s clarification on Art 35A, others are also demanding it. But till date nothing is coming out from the government. Under such circumstances we would request the central government to defer the hearing on Art 35 A on January 09 2019 till a democratically elected government is in place in the state. It’s their job then to protect and safeguard Art 35 A in the SC.”

Responding to a question on party’s decision of not participating in ULB and Panchayat elections because of Art 35A, Omar said, “It’s the government which connected the two by putting up an argument in the SC wherein it asked for deferment of the case on Art 35 A citing the upcoming ULB and panchayat polls,” adding, “We have never said to boycott elections neither are we running an election boycott campaign. 

The NC core group has decided that the party will not participate in these elections unless and until Government of India and the state government clears its position on Art 35A and take effective steps for its protection in and outside the Courts.”

“If the state government wants to go ahead with the election, its their decision. We cannot stop them. The fact that two major regional political parties, with three former chief ministers, are not participating in these elections and if GoI thinks they can go ahead with elections then they are free to do it. If anyone wants to contest they are free to do so,” Omar said.

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