February 2002 News

Victory from Jammu historic: Omar

28 February 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Excelsior Correspondent

Jammu: Describing the win of J&K National Conference in the Jammu-Poonch parliamentary by-elections as a historic event in the history of J&K and the party, Union Minister of State for External Affairs Mr Omar Abdullah has said that it was a real trial exam for the party to make preparations for the forthcoming Assembly elections in the State. Talking to media persons at the Sher-i-Kashmir Bhawan during a function organised in the honour of Mr Abdullah and Ch Talib Hussain on the victory of the party in the elections, the Union Minister said that for the first time the Party has won this Jammu seat. It indicates that people of Jammu region endorse the Party stand as also its programmes and policies. The enthusiasm among the party cadre and the workers in particular has set the tempo for the next assembly elections which are drawing nearer. Responding to a question on Assembly elections, Mr Abdullah who is also president of Youth wing of the party said that it is up to the senior party leadership to decide about the assembly elections. The Party working Committee will meet any time now and may take decision in this regard. He, however, avoided to comment on when the assembly elections are expected for J&K. On being asked about the allegations of rigging raised by BJP and Congress against NC after elections, Mr Abdullah said BJP people like Prof Chaman Lal Gupta and others are themselves responsible for their party defeat. These people worked against the interests of the party and suffered defeat. They must set their own house right first before raising such allegations. If Prof Gupta and Daya Krishan would have worked together, the BJP would have never faced such a fate. Similar thing happened in the Congress camp. If BJP has suffered any damage, the NC is not responsible for it. He maintained that they kept mum for three days and avoided to take up the matter with the Election Commission. They also kept silent when ballot boxes were shifted to Jammu and even counting started but started hue and cry when the NC started taking lead. Their claims are baseless, hollow and unjustified. They must accept the defeat. Replying to a question on demand of State BJP leadership to oust NC from NDA, Mr Abdullah said the NC is good partner in the Democratic Alliance. The NDA leadership is free to take any decision but it is not wise merely losing seat by BJP that the leadership will consider any such demand or succumb to any pressure from the local leadership. The National Conference believes in secularism, equal development of all the regions and justice to the people of all the regions. It is against the politics of regionalism and religion. ''We have to work harder for the coming Assembly elections. The moments of celebrations for the win are over and the workers must gear up for the next preparations, '' he maintained. Commenting on the incident of violence in Gujarat, the Union Minister said it was very unfortunate and tragic. It will not be allowed to happen again. Such acts of religious fundamentalism are highly condemnable and his Government would not encourage such acts which weaken the secular character of this democratic set up. The guilty will be punished. Responding to a question, Mr Omar said there may be hand of ISI in many events in India but he did not see the hand of ISI in this particular incident. Replying to another question of regional autonomy, he said the Government is already working on that and it was very much in the agenda of NC Government.


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