The war of words waged by National Conference (NC) working president Omar Abdullah against Peoples Conference (PC) chief and state minister Sajad Lone on Twitter has stirred NC within, forcing it to hold a meeting of senior party leaders in Srinagar.
Abdullah, who was in New Delhi, was scheduled to meet party leaders on Tuesday afternoon in Srinagar to put the unrest to rest.
The meeting comes in the wake of six party leaders distancing themselves from a party statement taking pot shots at Lone, who hogged renewed limelight last year by meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“There is some misunderstanding. This is no big issue. The party is meeting and will discuss all the issues. We see no ill-intent in statements issued by the NC leaders,” NC general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar told the Hindustan Times.
It all started with Omar, former J-K chief minister, taking jibes at Lone last week after Lone advocated for political space to RSS in Kashmir in an interview.
“And for this all Sajad got was a few sheep & goats to look after! I'm sure the RSS will help next time around!!!” wrote Abdullah on Twitter.
To which, Lone retorted, “...Oh I forgot I have renewable energy too which ur (your) Dad (Farooq Abdullah) had in the UPA regime (sic)”.
The online spat was followed by more spiteful statement issued by NC high command where senior NC leaders, including Chaudhary Mohammad Ramzan, Mir Saifullah, Mohamamd Shafi Uri, Mohammad Akbar Lone, Qaiser Jamshed Lone, Kafil-ur-Rehman and Nasir Khan, lashed out at Lone.
“First they sent our youth across the border and built their personal estates and vast empires on their graves and now Lone says those who wave Pakistani flags should go to Pakistan,” read NC statement quoting these leaders.
However, NC leader Akbar Lone was first to distance himself from the statement saying “he was not knowing about the statement”. Other NC leaders also went public in expressing ignorance about the statement.
PC’s Lone went ahead in hailing the statements of NC leaders who issued the disclaimer.
Pertinently, Sajad Lone played a key role in NC’s Qaiser Lone becoming a MLC in the legislative council polls held earlier in the year by voting for him. It seems NC leaders from north Kashmir felt obliged not to attack Lone as quid pro quo to his earlier gesture.
However, the public posture of NC leaders in contrast to Abdullah’s tirade against minister Lone has put the party in a spot.
Abdullah is likely to reprimand the leaders for going to the public and will ensure that public statements are issued with proper consultancy with the party leaders, said sources.
“The party high command reserves the right to take action or not to take it. It depends on what was the intent of the leaders. As of now, there is nothing serious about the matter,” said Sagar.