Not Accountable To People Who Don't Vote: CM

26 April 2014
Rising Kashmir
Faisul Yaseen

Srinagar: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Saturday said he was not accountable to people who boycott polls. Addressing a news conference at the Gupkar residence of National Conference (NC) President Farooq Abdullah, Omar said he was not accountable to people who do not cast votes. 'I'm only accountable to people who vote,' he said. 'The only way you can get accountability is when you cast votes.' At least 72 percent people in south Kashmir's Anantnag parliamentary constituency did not vote on April 24. Omar said the only people who suffer were voters and the only way they could get accountability was by participating in the electoral process. 'When you vote, you can demand accountability; how can I be held accountable if people don't vote,' the chief minister said. He said it did not matter whether people vote for NC or not, but the extent to which he was accountable was directly proportional to the extent of the people's participation in polls. 'How can I be accountable if people do not vote, how can you possibly demand accountability when you have not participated,' Omar said. Chief Electoral Officer J&K, Umang Narula pegged the poll percentage in south Kashmir's Pulwama district at 6.32 percent, Shopian district at 20.43 percent, Kulgam at 36.68 percent and Anantnag at 36.76 percent. 'We don't say we won't let you walk on the bridge we built if you didn't vote, we don't say we won't let you use power, if you didn't vote but you can make us more accountable when you participate,' the chief minister said. Accusing PDP of engineering poll boycott in south Kashmir, Omar said boycott helps PDP. 'When Mehbooba won south Kashmir seat in 2004, she won it on 15 percent polling,' he said. 'Today the turnout is more than double and if boycott benefits anyone, then it benefits Mehbooba.' The chief minister said when NC won the seat five years ago, they won it on 28 percent turnout. NC leader Mehbooba Beg had won the south Kashmir's Anantnag parliamentary seat in 2009 when 28 percent people had cast votes. 'Clearly they (Peoples Democratic Party) are the ones who have tried to engineer this sort of boycott because they benefit from it,' he said. Omar also accused the PDP Patron and former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed of fielding proxy candidates to cut the vote share of NC-Congress coalition candidates. 'Mufti sahab's old habits have not died and he can set any home on fire for deriving political mileage,' he said. 'In 1984, he pitted a sister (Khalida Shah) against a brother (Farooq Abdullah) for his own benefits and we are still suffering from that.' Omar said had Mufti not pitted Khalida Shah to bring Farooq Abdullah government down, 'the situation in the State may not have been like this'. 'Mufti sahab is playing the same game now,' he said. Omar said Mufti had fielded two candidates to divide the votes of NC. He was referring to Aga Abdul Hussain, who is contesting from Baramulla, as an independent candidate and Aga Syed Mohsin, a Congress rebel, who is also contesting from Srinagar as an independent candidate. 'What is the logic of two candidates participating in the polls they know they can't win,' he said. 'It is just to cut the votes.' Omar said PDP had similarly fielded candidates in Jammu and Udhampur to help BJP against the NC-Congress coalition candidate. 'How far they will succeed remains to be seen as people of Jammu and Kashmir are intelligent enough and what votes they will cut and how many they will cut will be clear on May 16,' he said. The chief minister also downplayed the reports of cross-voting by Congress supporters in favour of PDP. 'Did you see ink marks on their finger,' he said. 'Did you see which buttons they hit, if you did I will file a complaint with the Election Commission of India.'