Former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC), leader Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said that defending Constitution of India, to which Article 35-A is an integral, cannot be termed as anti-national.
Omar while addressing a public rally at Darhall said that as long as NC flag is fluttering high across Jammu and Kashmir, Article 35-A will remain part of the Constitution of India.
Omar lamented over BJP for making this proviso a Hindu versus Muslim and the state versus rest of the country issue.
“After falling short of arguments to justify their moves in this regard the right wing party resorted to such tactics,” he added.
Omar asked how can fingers be raised against NC for opposing the clandestine moves of repealing Article 35A, which is a constitutional guarantee to the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh for preserving their distinct identity and dignity, irrespective of religion or caste.
He accused the BJP of dividing people on region and religion to further its anti-people agenda.
“Article 35A reflects our identity. It allows us to shape our destiny and we cannot therefore let it go”, he declared amid huge applause and asked people to close their ranks for defending this, come what may.
The NC leader cautioned people not to remain complacent on this sensitive issue, especially as the BJP is working on a planned strategy drawn as back as the conception of the PDP in 2000.
“The pen and inkpot party had been conceived to further the agenda of RSS and BJP in this state”, he said.
Elaborating his argument, Omar Abdullah reminded the people how fiercely PDP had campaigned against BJP in 2014 assembly and parliamentary elections, claiming that this was the only party that can stop the Modi juggernaut in Jammu and Kashmir. No sooner the fractured results became public the PDP aligned with the BJP and formed the government, he added.
“By facilitating BJP to make inroads in Jammu and Kashmir and allowing its dream of joining the government come true, PDP has betrayed the trust of people”, he said, adding that if the PDP is allowed to make compromises, one after another, the day is not far when the BJP could not even need their support to rule the state. Therefore, he said, safeguarding Article 35A is a foremost responsibility of all, as it is in the larger interests of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
Omar Abdullah blamed PDP for submitting to whims and wishes of the BJP, be it GST or the National Food Security Act.
He termed the implementation of GST as tremendous setback to the state’s fiscal autonomy and said the NFSA has broken the backbone of poor.
“I had opposed the implementation of the NFSA despite frequent demands by our then alliance partner the Congress party in the government”, he maintained.
“By agreeing to implement the NFSA, the PDP has forced people of the State into submission and deprived them of bare minimum ration”, the former Chief Minister said, adding that the ration crisis had been perpetuated by PDP to arm-twist people into compliance after widespread anti-incumbency and discontent due to the PDP-BJP Government’s total failure on all fronts.
He said the rationees, both APL and BPL, were suffering as the costs have increased and levy sugar is being totally denied to the poor ration card holders.
“People are suffering all over due to an intentional persecution that has been unleashed to quell extensive political opposition to PDP’s U-turns and sell-outs”, he said and expressed anguish over the lackadaisical approach of the coalition government in making administrative units functional and implementing the reservation for Paharis, which in no way is detrimental to the interests of Gujjars.
The NC leader exhorted people to remain steadfast in their resolve to safeguard the interests of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and strengthening bonds of amity and brotherhood for which the state is known across the country.
“Unity in diversity has been our greatest strength, which can steer us through all our problems”, he asserted.