Rejects pre-poll surveys, says these are ‘fixed’ ‘Governance, new administrative units, normalcy in NC’s manifesto’
Jammu: Terming UPA led government an ideal situation for Jammu and Kashmir, chief minister Omar Abdullah is of the opinion that the BJP led government at the Centre will not be in the interests of the state. Omar also made it clear that in case the Congress fails to form the next government at the Centre, he will prefer joining a Third Front supported by the Congress rather than joining BJP led government.
In an exclusive interview with KNS, at CM’s secretariat in Jammu, Omar said: “For us the ideal situation is a UPA government. But unfortunately, if they don’t come to power, then I would prefer a Third Front government supported by the Congress.” He remarked that the worst option for his party to support is the BJP led government. “Because, it is completely an untested entity. Had BJP nominated Atal Behrai Vajpayee or L K Advani as its prime ministerial candidates, it was still worth to pay a heed. But you know nothing about BJP’s present prime ministerial candidate Narindera Modi except for what he says about Gujarat. We even don’t know what is happening in Gujarat. So it is an untested force. Let us see.”
About pre-poll alliance with its coalition partner Congress in the state, the Chief Minister said his party has followed its alliance model of 2009 where NC and the Congress had fielded three candidates each. “We repeated those three candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls on our share of three out of six seats. Let us see how Congress will go with the nominations of their candidates for rest of three Lok Sabha seats,” Omar informed.
The chief minister added: “We have not fielded three candidates in Jammu because of the pre poll alliance. Let us be very clear, if there will be no pre-poll alliance between NC-Congress there will be no government in the state. Because there is no way that the NC and the Congress can fight each other in the parliament and sit in the cabinet together and govern the state jointly. That is hypocrisy which will not be accepted by the people.”
When asked about the consistent demand of the Congress to field its candidate from one more Lok Sabha constituencies in the state besides having its own share of three seats, Omar termed the demand ‘unjustified’. “This is an unjustified demand. Why should we drop our sitting MP for this attitude? I would have been ready to debate on a seat if there would been no sitting MP from our party. Suppose we agree for pre-poll alliance for the assembly elections, then will they ask to drop our sitting MLAs as well. Tomorrowthey will ask me to leave Ganderbal or Gurez for them; is that a justified demand? Dr Farooq sahib had come here to get the feedback from the party on the Congress demand for one Lok Sabha seat of the valley but the party didn’t allow him to go for it. The party said that we have three sitting MPs and we should retain these three seats,” Omar told KNS.
However, he clearly maintained that his party colleagues like some circles in the Congress, do not want to forge a pre-poll alliance for the forthcoming assembly elections in the state. “People in both the parties do not want pre poll alliance in coming assembly elections. If you talk to my party colleagues, they will not say it officially but unofficially they will confirm this.”
While referring to pre poll surveys conducted by some organizations in collaboration with some media houses in Delhi, Omar categorically rejected these surveys saying that they are a fixed poll surveys. “It has been proven that C-Voter people take money to do these exit polls. Headlines today and India today have said that they will not work with the C-Voter anymore because they indulge in fixed polls. I don’t trust any pre-poll survey. You ask ten people and decide the fate of one lac! People will vote and those votes will decide and these surveys can’t change the results. We have a direct competition with PDP. Who says no?”
Asked about preparedness of his party National Conference and the agenda with which it will go to people to seek votes, Omar said that his party is well prepared to go to people and seek their support. “We have already announced our three candidates in December 2013 and from that day we started our preparations for the ensuing polls. Since the poll bigul has been sounded and the election notification has already been issued, there will be campaigning now and I think we will have to go to the ground seek votes from people and let us what people decide.”
About NC’s manifesto for Lok Sabha elections, Omar said that the same will be prepared by the party’s manifesto committee. “Obviously our agenda will be five years of governance, our performance, developmental work, creation of new administrative units and the extent of normalcy in the security situation of the state.” When asked to elaborate any breakthrough on NC’s major slogans like revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), return of power projects, employment and so on, the chief minister said: “This is an ongoing process. Obviously what government gets elected in Delhi will have some implications on these things. So we will see what happens.” However, he said an assessment of the AFSPA has to be made by state government, home ministry and the defense ministry. We are in the process of discussing it. Let us see.”
He termed a brief halt (January-February 2014) in Cross LoC trade ‘unfortunate’ saying that the incident occurred because of one individual (Pakistani truck driver) who should face the legal course of action. “Suspension of trade was an unfortunate situation because it is one individual who is involved in drug smuggling. Reality is that there was only one driver from Pakistan involved in the matter but there were many people from this side of the LoC involved in this racket. Those people who were supposed to lift that drugs consignment and the end users of it were all involved. It was a nexus. It is not that the whole blame lies on the other side of LoC but the law must follow its own course. Suppose if our driver is arrested in Pakistan under the charges of drug smuggling then he will go to jail in Pakistan. The Pakistani law will follow. But fortunately the other side has understood this. They have not made it a prestige point. We will follow the law and whatever the courts will decide, will happen.”
On creation of new administrative units and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) allegation that these units exist only on papers and have been created for political reasons, Omar said that these units have been approved by the cabinet and there has been a provision kept in the budget for the non plan expenditure. “Now that our plan is being approved there will be a provision kept for the planned expenditure. The Planning commission’s approval does not matter in this regard. We will manage our resources. I cannot inaugurate these units because of the model code of conduct already enforced. Once this code of conduct is over in May, I will start inaugurating these new administrative units in the state.” He said that the opposition PDP is confused on this issue. “First they say that these units exist only on papers then they broke furniture in assembly demanding more units.”
Omar also ridiculed the opinion about possible dangerous consequences of US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on Kashmir. “There will be no impact of US troop withdrawal in Afghanistan on Kashmir. The groups with vested interests who do not want revocation of AFSPA in Kashmir try to scare us using this kind of theory. I think the US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan will impact security situation in Kashmir only if the conducive security situation in Kashmir is a result of their (US troops) efforts. If our army would say that the credit for normalcy in Kashmir goes to America then obviously there could be some dangerous implications of US troop withdrawal in Afghanistan. But you can’t say that your sacrifices have made this peaceful situation possible in Kashmir and in the same breath, say if this peace is disturbed it is because of American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.”(KNS)