Amit Shah’s visit to Kashmir was to help BJP’s ‘proxy candidates’, claims Omar Abdullah


PTI, May 18, 2024, 2:23 PM IST

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah alleged on Friday that Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Kashmir was to help the BJP’s “proxy candidates” in the Lok Sabha elections.

Shah on Friday wrapped up his brief visit to the Kashmir Valley during which he interacted with several delegations, including local Sikhs and those from the BJP, officials said.

Though his visit in the midst of Lok Sabha elections led to speculation of his meetings with some Kashmir-based mainstream political leaders, there was no official word on the minister’s engagements before he left the Valley.

Abdullah told reporters, “I don’t know whom the home minister met and I don’t want to know. But I definitely know that the home minister came here just to help in the elections.”

The National Conference vice-president is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from the Baramulla constituency.
He told reporters in the Gurez sector near the Line of Control in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district that while the BJP has not fielded its own candidates, “its ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ teams — be it the bucket, apple, cricket bat or ink-pot — have been working on its directions”.

Abdullah was referring to the election symbols of the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP), People’s Conference, Apni Party and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), respectively.

The former chief minister of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state alleged that these parties have come together to attack the National Conference at the directions of the Centre.

“Recently, (DPAP chief) Ghulam Nabi Azad announced support for (jailed former MLA) Engineer Rashid. As far as I know Azad, he would not have taken such a decision without the permission of the prime minister or the home minister. So, it is a possibility that all these parties have come together only to target the National Conference.”
Rashid filed his nomination from Tihar jail to contest from Baramulla, which goes to the polls on May 20.

The BJP has not fielded its candidates for the three Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir but unofficially extended support to some of the new political parties formed after the abrogation of Article 370.
Asked about the situation in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK), Abdullah said the National Conference has always advocated for improving relations between India and Pakistan.

“Me and my party have always said that the two nations will have to improve relations. They will have to create an atmosphere to improve relations and, for that, the responsibility lies with the leadership of both countries,” he said.

“There is a new government in Pakistan and we will have a new government here after June 4 — the people will decide who the prime minister will be. But we hope that both the countries will create such an atmosphere that we are able to establish a relationship of friendship,” Abdullah added.

Referring to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s remarks that India could change its friends but not its neighbours, Abdullah said Pakistan was, is and will remain India’s neighbour.
“So, it is better to find a way to improve relations,” he said.

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