Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah ruffled feathers in non-BJP camps across India with his series of tweets after the assembly election results on Saturday.
The National Conference president described BJP’s landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh as a “tsunami and not a ripple in a small pond” while suggesting opposition parties to focus their energies towards finding a positive alternative.
One of his tweet read; “At this rate, we might as well forget 2019 and start planning (and) hoping for 2024.”
The Congress reacted sharply to Abdullah’s comments. “Omar Abdullah should focus on strengthening his party rather than commenting on national politics. He should also take some interest in Jammu and Kashmir affairs and the people’s problems instead of spending time on twitter,” party’s chief spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala said.
He said the National Conference has not been able to revive itself after losing badly to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2014 assembly elections. “We will definitely help since we were together in a coalition government in the past,” the Congress leader said.
JD (U) spokesman Neeraj Kumar accused Abdullah of politics of opportunism. “By referring to BJP’s expansion as a tsunami, he seems to have laid down his guns much before the next assembly elections in his state,” he said, suggesting that Abdullah should not get so pessimistic and disheartened by one result. His party leader and Bihar chief minister, Nitish Kumar in fact congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for getting complete support of the backward classes and the poor following his demonetisation drive.
RJD spokesman Mrityunjay Tiwari said a fragmented opposition worked to the advantage of BJP. While stressing that the route to Delhi passes through Bihar and UP, he said it’s time that the opposition consolidate and put up a united face to stop BJP from retaining power in 2019. He said Omar Abdullah’s vision was confined to Kashmir.
Trinamool Congress’ chief whip in Rajya Sabha, Sukhendu Shekhar Roy also ticked off the NC chief. “If Abdullah had suggestions, he should have raised them at proper platforms,” he said.
The Aam Aadmi Party declined to comment on Abdullah’s tweets.
The DMK also chose not to comment on Abdullah’s tweets. But DMK spokesperson A Saravanan while describing Modi as the most charismatic leader in the country today, said in the same breath that it would be extremely difficult for the BJP to make inroads in Tamil Nadu in 2019 ‘because the party’s policies do not align with the people.’
“Tamil Nadu has historically favoured moderate parties and the people have a strong sense of regional identity, which includes pride in their language and customs. The BJP, through its policies, its attempts to homogenize what it means to be an Indian, and its nature as a Hindutva party runs counter to that - so unless they start appealing to Tamils they can never win,” he stressed.
AIADMK spokesperson, Avadi Kumar too described Modi as the most charismatic leader in the country but said, “A lot can change by 2019.”
“In Tamil Nadu, there is no chance Modi or the BJP will win anything in 2019. Remember in 2014, Amma had stopped his wave in the state,” he said.
Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt N Uttam Kumar Reddy described Abdullah’s statement pessimistic. “The election results in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand are not an indicator to the nation-wide trend. It is a peculiar outcome confined only to those two states which were part of only one state in the past and various factors worked in favour of the BJP there.”
(With inputs from Arun Kumar in Patna Bihar and Aditya Iyer in Chennai)