Admitting that continuing in the BJP-led NDA after the 2002 Gujarat riots was a "mistake", National Conference patron and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Sunday said he should have quit the alliance then.
"It was a mistake to be part of the alliance after the riots. I apologise for that. I should have protested hard and left the NDA," Abdullah said.
Addullah said his son Omar Adbullah, who was the Minister of state for External Affairs in the NDA coalition, had repeatedly told him to sever ties with the BJP-led alliance.
"Omar continuously told me to leave NDA. But I did not," he added.
About the reason why he did not quit, he said, "I was trying to get Jammu and Kashmir out of a crisis".
"There was far more at stake than my chair and I was trying to get the state out of a crisis. It (resigning) wouldn't have had mattered," he explained.
About the release of Jaish-e-Mohammad founder Maulana Masood Azhar after the 1999 Kandahar hijacking, Abdullah, who was the chief minister then, said he was against the decision. "I told the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Home Minister LK Advani that it would be a mistake and detrimental and the world will pay the price for it," he said.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister has accused Vajpayee and Advani of "thrusting their decision" on him.
Abdullah said the Central pressure on him to release terrorists in 1999 was similar to the one he underwent exactly 10 years back after the abduction of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of then Union Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
"In 1989, the Government of the day decided to release all five terrorists. The then prime minister overruled the state Chief Minister, that was me," he added.