BJP exploited Article 370 for political gains: Omar Abdullah

Srinagar,  A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Congress and regional parties exploited Article 370, National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah said that it is the BJP that exploited it for political gains.

Omar said there was nothing new in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public address in Srinagar and he talked about the same things that he has been talking about over the last few years.

He said that the PM should at least have said about conducting the assembly election before the Supreme Court’s September 31 deadline and full restoration of the statehood.

“I did not see anything new in the speech. He talked about the same things… He did not mention anything which the people wanted to hear,” the former Chief Minister told reporters on the sidelines of a party function where former legislator Javeed Baig joined the NC.

The NC Vice President said that people in Jammu and Kashmir wanted to know about the restoration of full statehood.

“I know the Prime Minister himself cannot announce the elections. It is the Election Commission which announces polls .But PM should at least have said about conducting the assembly elections before the Supreme Court’s September 30 deadline. We wanted to hear that. He should have said something about the restoration of full statehood and announced an employment package …. He should have spoken about the electricity crisis that is worsening every day. We were hoping that PM Modi will speak about these, but all our hopes were dashed,” Omar said.

On Modi’s assertions during the public rally that Article 370- which gave special rights to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir- was exploited by Congress and the regional parties, Omar said it is BJP that has been using this Article for political purposes.

“People here have an emotional attachment with Article 370. Those who celebrated its abrogation, are now mourning it. The people of Ladakh and Jammu today want the special status back. So, we did not use Article 370. It is the BJP which has exploited Article 370,” the former chief minister said.

Omar said Article 370 has been a political football for the BJP and they have been using it.

“PM comes to Jammu and praises a Bollywood movie which has been made on Article 370. If this is not using Article 370 for politics, then what is it?” he said.

The NC vice president said he was not in favour of personal attacks on Prime Minister Modi and these slogans backfire for the opposition.

Responding to a query about RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s jibe on the PM that he had no family, Omar said the opposition parties dont get any benefit out of it.

“Such things backfire…. I was never in favour of such slogans and they don’t benefit us. In fact, there is an opposite effect when we use such slogans, it causes losses to us,” he said.

Omar said a voter is not satisfied with these slogans, he wants to know how the issues he faces today would be addressed.

He said the BJP has used this jibe as an opportunity by saying that Modi belongs to those who do not have anyone.

“We do not have any answer to that now. I will only say that we should not indulge in such personal politics but raise the issues of the public.,” Omar added.