Omar Skeptical About Assembly Polls In 2021

Says Party, Not Elections His Priority

Srinagar: National Conference vice-president and the former chief minister of erstwhile state of J&K Omar Abdullah Thursday said that he doesn’t see Assembly elections taking place in 2021.

He, however, said that his priority was not elections but to strengthen the party at the grassroots level.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a party function organised to pay tributes to senior NC leader Wali Muhammad Yatoo at Damhaal Hanjpora in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district today, Omar said that he doesn’t see Assembly elections taking place in 2021.

“The Delimitation Commission has been given one year’s extension and who knows it may be given more extension.

Let me clarify that my priority is not elections; it may be for the others. My top priority is to strengthen NC at grassroots level, which I am doing,” he said. Omar while replying to a query said that whether he is happy with the decentralization of District Development Councils (DDCs), he said as of now he doesn’t see any development taking place. “There was 90 per cent voting during NC’s tenure when Panchayat polls were held.

DDC members shouldn’t be used as photo-opportunity and as a diplomatic tool. These elections were held to strengthen the grassroots level. Government must distribute powers and responsibilities to DDC members so that democracy flourishes,” the NC vice-president said.

On how sees the recent commitment of Indo-Pak DGDMOs towards following the ceasefire pact of 2003, Omar said that he and his party has always welcomed such steps. “We hope this step will bring the two countries closer so that they talk freely in a peaceful atmosphere,” he said.

About recent remarks of Wasim Rizvi about the holy Quran, Omar said that Indian constitution doesn’t allow any assault on any religion.

“Wasim Rizvi is not a foreigner but one amongst us. People indulging in hurting the religious sentiments of people of any faith, should be brought to book as per the law of the land,” Omar said.

‘New Delhi Used DDC Polls As Diplomatic Tool’
National Conference Vice President and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday accused New Delhi of using DDC elections as “diplomatic tool” even as he asked the country fulfill its “solemn pledges” to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The founding fathers of the nation have listed all the solemn commitments made to the people of J&K in the constitution itself. We are subjected to canards, called as anti national and timid when we call for having a dialogue with the neighboring country to solve all the impending issues,” Omar said addressing a mammoth public gathering here at Damhal Hanjipura Kulgam,

“The fresh veiled diplomatic outreach between India and Pakistan, and the successive DGMO level accord on the implementation of ceasefire on the borders between India and Pakistan is a telling indictment of our stand,” he said as per a party spokesman in a statement issued here.

“We in our party don’t resort to rabble rousing. Pragmatism has long been the template of our party policy. And our repeated calls for dialogue both internal and external are borne out of our commitment to non-violence and predilection for peace. I hope the DGMO level talks act as a step towards greater engagement between India and Pakistan,” he said.

Remarking on the state of democratic institutions in Jammu and Kashmir, he said the DDC elections were used as diplomatic tools by New Delhi. “These people were told that they are going to have a stake in development but when it came to empowering them, the GOI turned to the other side,” the former CM said.

He said National Conference has long been a strong votary of decentralization and participatory governance.

“Our vision for decentralization pre-figures the introduction of Panchayti Raj elsewhere in the country. It was in our times that Panchayat Elections saw a huge turnout. But ironically this local level of government wasn’t spared as well from becoming a causality of politics,” he said.

The DDC elections, he said, saw how all established norms were thrown to air and unashamedly undermining all norms in the elections to DDC.

“The partisan behaviour of the administration, using coercion and intimidation to win over crossovers marked the entire breadth of elections and election to DDC chairman.”

He said the scenario pre and post elections revealed how political impropriety and opportunism was allowed to take roots here.

Omar said that the party has long been associated with the political aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Referring to the numerous “shenanigans and other coercive tactics which were employed to dismember the party whilst the entire party leadership was incarcerated”, Omar said that his workers withstood all the intimidation with bravery and didn’t give in.

“The DDC results have made it clear that the people of Jammu and Kashmir trust none other than NC when it comes to representing their genuine political aspirations,” he added.

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