It seems calm, but storm is coming: Farooq on Taliban impact

‘Regret not contesting Panchayat polls, NC will win assembly election’

SRINAGAR: At a time when Afghanistan celebrates the withdrawal of US forces, Jammu and Kashmir’s political stalwart and twice chief minister Farooq Abdullah believes that the consequences of Taliban’s return to power will also affect this part of the globe.

“It seems calm. But it is the calm before the storm, which is coming,” Abdullah warned, while talking to reporters on the sidelines of an event at the SKICC on Tuesday.

“And we have to be ready to fight for it,” he added.

The National Conference (NC) president said that one of the most important things that needs consideration now is the security of panchayat members, because they will be the first target (of militants) as politicians who stand with the Indian nation will have to face hostility.

“Recently, members of the BJP have been killed, and another one from the Apni Party. God knows what will happen in the coming days. If a panchayat member or a District Development Council member or a political party has to work, then their security is very important. Otherwise, how will they work and reach their areas?” he said.

The security threat, however, does not deter him, Farooq said, from being hopeful about the prospects of elections in Jammu and Kashmir. He asserted that his party will win the next assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, and it was a mistake that the party did not participate in the 2018 Panchayat elections.

The NC had boycotted the Panchayat polls, asking New Delhi to hold assembly elections prior to that, and guarantee the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, which a year later was scrapped.

“I am telling you with authority that we will win if they conduct polls in a free and fair manner. Then the National Conference will be the biggest party here,” he said. “Our party did not contest the Panchayat polls and I regret it. We should have (contested) and we will in the future. Our party does not need to reach out to people because they know us and the work we have done.”

He expressed anguish over Jammu and Kashmir administration officials not responding to calls of people.

“I have this complaint with the government officials that they do not pick up their phones as if some ghost is hanging upon them. But as soon as our party’s government is formed, we will make officers accountable,” he said.

“They will be accountable tomorrow for what they have done. Today, they think of themselves as kings, but they are not kings, they are the servants of people who have to work for the people,” he said.

He also asked Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh to provide security to those who need it. “I understand that security cannot be provided to everyone, but you will have to do something about it,” Abdullah said.


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