Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said on Saturday that the Kashmir issue was of paramount importance to the people in the Valley and that no talk about development would make any sense without first finding a political solution to the whole issue.
The National Conference (NC) leader addressed two massive rallies at Sumbal and Kangan, attacking the Congress and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for eroding the special status of the state.
“We can build a thousand concrete bridges and pave thousands of kilometers of new roads but until and unless we build a political bridge that connects the people of this state to their political aspirations, the ground reality will remain unchanged,” Abdullah said.
He said he was amused at how the Congress and the PDP were now talking about the need to resolve the Kashmir issue and to protect Article 370 when they were the ones who had eroded it.
“When Article 370 was eroded from 1953 to 1975, it was done by the Congress party at the Centre and its pliant, puppet regimes in Srinagar with Mufti (Mohammad Sayeed) Sahab as a permanent feature of this operation,” he said.
Abdullah dismissed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s allegations that two political families “looted” the state, saying the BJP was afraid of the NC’s popularity.
“You have been in the government for the last six months at the Centre. Please tell us where (we have robbed the state),” he said in response to Modi's statement at an election rally at Kishtwar. “Perhaps he (Modi) is getting afraid. If we had really looted the state, would people have supported us like this?”