Farooq Abdullah Re-elected Party President, Demands Restoration of Article 370
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) unanimously re-elected former chief minister (CM) Farooq Abdullah as its president on Monday.
Abdullah (85), who had led JKNC for more than 40 years after the death of his father and party’s founder Sheikh Abdullah in 1982, had announced on November 18 not to contest for the post, surprising many of his party colleagues.
“I was not willing to continue as the president but my people in NC insisted that I should continue. They told me that I cannot abandon my responsibility at this crucial juncture to which I agreed,” the leader said at a party function held to commemorate the 117th birth anniversary of Sheikh Abdullah at Hazrat Bal, Srinagar.
“I also suggested that they should prepare the next generation for leading the party in the future,” Abdullah further said.
The election was held after special prayers were offered at the grave by the top party leaders, including vice-president and former CM Omar Abdullah and party delegates.
Abdullah, Omar and party general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar addressed the workers and passed a six-point resolution reiterating their “commitment” to the issues and rights of the people of J&K, and demanded the restoration of Articles 370 and 35A and immediate Assembly election.
Lashing out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the J&K administration for being complicit, he expressed willingness to participate in the upcoming Assembly election.
“We made a mistake by boycotting the Panchayat election but we won’t boycott any election now. Even Omar has expressed unwillingness to fight in the elections but I as president of the NC insist that he has to fight and defeat them [BJP],” he said.
The senior leader also paid tribute to the Muslim protesters killed by Dogra soldiers during British rule in July 1931 as he invoked their resistance.
Abdullah, who is also the head of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, vowed to hold officials accountable for their unfair treatment of Kashmiri and cautioned people about the BJP’s actions.
“The BJP attempted to buy legislators in Telangana and other states, including Jharkhand. They troubled Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal but Bengalis stood behind her. They will try these tactics here as well. But we have to show steadfastness,” he added.
Omar accused the BJP of putting opposition leaders, especially from NC, at risk. He also said that the “fight” is not just with the BJP and its allies whom he referred to as “A, B, C, D and E teams”.
“The administration is also against us. Earlier, security was provided based on threats from militants. Today, the decision to provide security (to protected persons) is being taken on the basis of threat perception to the BJP. Any party which is a threat to the BJP is provided with the least security,” Omar alleged.
Peoples Democratic Party president and former CM Mehbooba Mufti also congratulated the octogenarian leader. “Healthiest congratulations to Dr Farooq Abdullah Sb for being elected president of JKNC unopposed. His leadership is paramount in the struggle for rights and dignity of the people of J&K. Wish him good health and long life,” Mehbooba tweeted.
Healthiest congratulations to Dr Farooq Abdullah Sb for being elected president of JKNC unopposed. His leadership is paramount in the struggle for rights and dignity of the people of J&K. Wish him good health and long life.
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) December 5, 2022
The BJP criticised Abdullah’s re-election with J&P party spokesperson Altaf Thakur terming it “dynastic politics”. “Dynasty rule yet again. The re-election of Farooq Abdullah as National Conference president shows that the party is confined to dynasty politics, which has lost ground and faith among the people of J&K. There is no place for family rule and dynasty politics in J&K. The NC election was a mere drama—rather a pre-planned move to gain media attention,” Thakur alleged.
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