Gupkar alliance ready to listen to all including BJP on Article 370, says Omar
National Conference vice president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has said that the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) was willing to listen to all divergent views including that of the BJP, on the issue of Articles 370 and 35-A.
Abdullah made the comments while expressing regret over Panthers Party founder Prof Bhim Singh’s sacking from his own party after the latter attended PAGD meeting at Bhatindi residence of Dr Farooq Abdullah on Saturday.
“I regret his sacking. We never said that we would meet only those who endorse our stand. We were ready to meet anyone. Even if BJP had come, we would have met them too and had they said that they do not accept our stand of restoring Articles 370 and 35-A, we would have listened to them as well,” he said.
Omar’s comments on Sunday came during a short visit to Kalakote in Rajouri to express his condolences to the family of party leader Thakur Rachpal Singh, who passed away on September 7. Omar clarified that Bhim Singh’s decision to meet the PAGD didn’t mean Singh agreed with their position on the contentious issues like revocation of Article 370 and 35-A.
“We never said that we would listen to only those who toe our line. And, Prof Bhim Singh also pointed out to us that he doesn’t endorse 35-A and also wants amendments in Article 370 before it could be accepted. Therefore, I don’t think that Prof Bhim Singh said anything wrong, which formed the basis of his sacking. Since they have expelled him, what can we say now? It is their internal matter,” he added.
The veteran leader was expelled by party chairman Harsh Dev Singh on Saturday after he attended the PAGD meet at Farooq’s residence.
Omar informed that the PAGD met 26 delegations representing different thoughts and ideologies on Saturday.
“Our motive to come to Jammu was to meet all shades of opinion and we succeeded to a considerable extent. We will continue to meet more people,” he added.
When asked if Mehbooba Mufti’s controversial remarks on the Tricolour will impact poll prospects of the Gupkar alliance in Jammu, Omar said that the PDP chief had herself clarified on her statement.
“Their party also bore its impact (resignation of three senior Jammu based leaders). Our Gupkar agenda is a unified agenda and we will jointly contest the DDC polls,” he said.
When asked if the Gupkar alliance of seven political parties will also jointly contest assembly polls as and when they are announced, Omar termed it a hypothetical query.
“As of now, there is no possibility of assembly elections. Had there been no delimitation commission announced then I would have anticipated early polls. The panel is yet to start its work on the ground, which has been delayed due to corona. It has to visit areas, meet delegations, seek suggestions from stakeholders before making a report and present it to the authorities concerned. I don’t think that in the next one to two years Assembly polls can be held,” he said.
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