‘We Are Not A Gang’: Omar, Mehbooba

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Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti issued strongly worded tweets alleging that the home minister’s “frustration” stems from the political amalgam deciding to contest the forthcoming local body elections and not giving the BJP and its allies a free run.

“We are not a gang Amit Shah Ji, we are a legitimate political alliance having fought and continuing to fight election, much to your disappointment,” Abdullah, who is also vice president of the National Conference, said on Twitter.

In a veiled dig at the newly formed Apni Party, he said, “I can understand the frustration behind this attack by the Hon’ble Home Minister. He had been briefed that the People’s Alliance was preparing to boycott elections. This would have allowed the BJP and newly formed King’s party a free run in JK. We didn’t oblige them.”

Only leaders in Jammu and Kashmir can be detained and called anti-national for participating in elections and supporting the democratic process, Abdullah said. “The truth is all those who oppose the ideology of the BJP are labelled ”corrupt and anti-national”,” he tweeted.

Mehbooba said the “BJP’s stale tactic of dividing India by projecting themselves as saviours and political opponents as internal and imagined enemies is far too predictable now”.

“Love jihad, tukde tukde and now Gupkar Gang dominates the political discourse instead of (issues) like rising unemployment and inflation,” she said.

The PDP chief also wondered whether fighting elections in an alliance is also anti-national now. “BJP can stitch as many alliances in its hunger for power but somehow we are undermining national interest by putting up a united front,” she said.

“…Irony died a million deaths since its BJP itself that violates the constitution day in and day out,” she tweeted.

Adding to the chorus of outrage PAGD leaders, CPM leader M Y Tarigami said participating in democratic process “maybe a job of ”gangs” for the BJP but is sacred for us”.

“The consensus and unity of political parties in JK has unnerved the BJP. We will fight for the restoration of constitutional rights irrespective of what authoritarian regime calls us,” he tweeted.

On August 4, 2019, a day before the central government announced the abrogation of Article 370, political parties in Kashmir, except the BJP, met at the residence of National Conference president Farooq Abdullah at Gupkar Road in Srinagar and adopted a declaration to defend Article 370.

Besides the PDP and the NC, the alliance also comprises the CPI-M, People’s Conference, AwamiNational Conference, the CPI and the People’s Movement, which was formed by IAS officer Shah Faesal, who has since resigned from the party.

More than a year later, in October, the political leaders who had been detained for several months met again and resolved to fight legally and democratically for restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

In November, the seven-party amalgam announced they would contest the local body elections together. The Congress also expressed its willingness for seat sharing arrangement in some districts.

National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah is PAGD president and Mehbooba its vice president. Veteran CPI-M leader M Y Tarigami is the convenor while People’s Conference leader Sajjad Gani Lone is spokesperson.

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