Jammu: Former legislator and BJP member Devender Singh Rana has claimed that National Conference (NC) leader Farooq Abdullah was ready to form a coalition government with the saffron party in Jammu and Kashmir in 2014.
Rana, a former NC member, had joined the BJP in Delhi October last year, along with former minister S S Slathia.
His remark assumes significance as it contradicts the statement of NC vice president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah that he had cautioned PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed against forming a government with BJP in 2014, saying its would be a “disaster”.
After the hung verdict in the 2014 assembly elections, I was sent as a leader of a delegation to Delhi by my then leadership to persuade BJP to form the government with National Conference … we were ready to form a coalition government with the saffron party, Rana said addressing a public meeting in Doda district.
Rana had taken over the post of provincial president of National Conference in 2011 after relinquishing his office as political advisor to Omar.
He said PDP fought the assembly polls on the plank of keeping BJP out of power but later formed the coalition government with the same party.
In the 2014 assembly elections, PDP had won 28 seats, BJP 25, NC 15, and Congress 12.
On March 1, 2015, Sayeed took oath as the chief minister of the PDP-BJP combine in a ceremony that was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders.
On June 19, 2018, the coalition government headed by Sayeed’s daughter Mehbooba Mufti collapsed after the BJP pulled out of the alliance over worsening security scenario and bitter political feuds between the two parties.
Addressing a public meeting in Chatroo village in Kishtwar district on November 30 last year, Omar had said that the BJP-led central government took advantage of the weak position of the National Conference and snatched what was given to the people of J&K by the constitution in the form of Article 370.
“I had foreseen such a situation and went to Mufti sahib to extend unconditional outside support for forming the government. I told him that the path he is going to tread will be a disaster for J&K and we will not be able to save ourselves,” Omar had then said.
Referring to the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), an amalgam of several mainstream parties including NC, PDP, and CPI (M), which is fighting for the restoration of Article 370, Rana said they are spreading lies and false narrative against the BJP.
“The decision to revoke Article 370 was taken by the parliament. Can a decision of the parliament be changed by an Assembly? When it cannot be done why are they fooling the public,” the BJP leader asked.
He said BJP treats every citizen equally without discriminating on the basis of caste, religion, and region and without appeasement.