Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today lashed out at People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for “playing petty politics” over revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), saying the issue became casualty of the opposition party’s “partisan” politics.
“PDP was playing petty politics over AFSPA. Not only did PDP remain silent on AFSPA revocation during their stint in the State, they also failed to support our efforts and demand for the revocation of the act while they have been in the opposition,” Omar said, addressing party workers in Beerwah assembly constituency in Central Kashmir.
Omar, the National Conference (NC) working president, kick-started his election campaign from Beerwah, one of the two constituencies, where from he is fighting the elections.
Omar said PDP chose to remain completely mum on the issue when they were in power from 2002 to 2008 and started issuing press statements on the issue only when the party was sent to the opposition benches.
“Our record on efforts for AFSPA revocation is self-evident and forthright. As soon as I became the Chief Minister, I asked not only for a political solution for the political problem in the State but also unambiguously sought the revocation of AFSPA in the presence of then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“I spoke on the floor of the Assembly demanding the revocation of AFSPA and NC has never modified or altered its stand on such sensitive issue. Show me one record, one instance when PDP demanded the revocation of AFSPA while they were in power.
“Tragically, even grief and suffering is measured in terms of political expediency by PDP and its leaders,” he said, adding PDP’s role in tactically choosing to not support efforts for AFSPA revocation was in stark contrast to the surprising posturing of the party and its leaders today.
Omar said PDP patron and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s “healing touch” policy “started and ended on a tragic note with targeted killings of militant commanders under his political leadership”.
The chief minister said PDP had demonstrated how it would choose political expediency over principled stands on such issues that concern the pain and suffering of the people.
“I also wonder where PDP’s ‘dual currency’ slogan has vanished? There wasn’t a day when they did not pitch these slogans in the past and now suddenly all these slogans have disappeared in thin air as if they never existed.
“Has NC ever abandoned its principled stand on issues like restoration of internal autonomy and revocation of AFSPA?… I have no doubt in my mind that the people of the State have taken note of PDP’s wavering stands and volte faces on crucial political issues concerning the State,” Omar said.
He said PDP cannot ask for one more opportunity to prove its credentials since the party was afforded “an engineered opportunity” in 2002 and one that was squandered in a term that witnessed “inaction, rampant loot and plunder and a systemic patronage to corruption”.
Omar castigated Sayeed for playing “hypocritical politics” over the recent devastating floods saying he flew in to Srinagar on one flight and flew out on the next available flight without caring to spend time in the Valley.
“The State Government on my directions had kept a chopper available for Mufti Sahab to tour the city and meet some people. I thought as a former chief minister it would be only appropriate that he moves around and meets the flood victims. Tragically, he chose to fly out of the flooded Valley on the very next flight after landing in Srinagar.
“…I did everything humanly possible under the circumstances and our efforts were validated by the fact that the fatalities were restricted to a large extent and no water-borne disease or epidemic was allowed to spread in the Valley after the floods,” he said.
Omar told the gathering that he was overwhelmed by the welcome accorded to him by the people and especially youth of Beerwah after his candidature from the constituency.
“You should not be thankful to me for choosing to contest from Beerwah, rather I should be thankful to all of you for accepting me with such enthusiasm and overwhelming affection as our party’s candidate from Beerwah. I assure the youth of Beerwah that I will leave no stone unturned to work with them and together we will script a bright economic, social and political future for Beerwah,” he said. (AGENCIES)