Jammu: National Conference president Farooq Abdullah Sunday announced that his son, Omar Abdullah, will be the party’s chief ministerial candidate.
Kick-starting the party’s campaign for the Lok Sabha polls here, the party chief said he will represent Jammu and Kashmir in Parliament.
“I will not be the chief minister. The chief minister will be Omar Abdullah as he is young. I am old and I cannot match the energy of young people, but he can. I will go to Parliament and I have full faith that I will be there,” Abdullah said addressing a party rally at Bahu Fort here.
Accusing the BJP of dividing the people and spreading hatred in the country, he said that the country had to be strengthened within and there was a need to fight polarisation, hatred and injustice.
The former chief minister asked people to support those candidates who could run the country based on the principle of equality.
He also countered allegations that the National Conference discriminated against Jammu and Ladakh.
In a veiled dig at the BJP, he said the state emblem of ‘Lotus’ was testimony that the state never discriminated against anyone unlike the party, which shared the lotus emblem, and was “dividing people on the basis of religion and spreading hatred”.
“Let us pray for unity and love, let us pray that those people come to power (at the Centre) who can understand the pain of the people and do not only raise slogans as slogans cannot run this country,” he said.
Without naming the BJP, Abdullah alleged that the party had purchased television channels and newspaper offices and unleashed a propaganda to mislead the people.
Slamming the BJP and the RSS for accusing him of being a Pakistani, he said recently his party worker was killed because he was holding the tricolour.
Continuing his tirade against the BJP-led NDA, he claimed that when CRPF personnel were killed in Chhattisgarh, no one from the BJP visited them to offer floral tributes.
On the Ram temple issue, he asked the Centre who was stopping it from constructing the shrine at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
“Muslims are not against the temple’s construction but they (leaders) are using the issue to spread hatred and divide people. Was the Ram only of Hindus? Your books teach that he belonged to everyone, just like Muslims believe that Allah is not only for Muslims but for the entire world,” he said.
He hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking what happened to the poll promises made by his party in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
“Today I want to ask Modi whether inflation has come down or increased for petrol and diesel during his rule. What happened to the promise of two crore jobs each year and how many from the state got employment in the past five years? What happened to the promise of depositing Rs 15 lakh to the account of each family,” he asked.
“How long will we hear this falsehood,” the former chief minister asked.
Abdullah said Indus Water treaty between India and Pakistan had resulted in injustice to the state as “we are not able to use our water resources to the advantage of the people”.
“It (Centre) was planning to stop the flow of the river Chenab to Pakistan but reality dawned upon them because it is not possible given the treaty,” he said.
Abdullah criticised the BJP for not completing any project to ensure drinking water to the people of Jammu who have to buy it for daily use.