Last Updated: February 08, 2024, 16:35 IST
Omar Abdullah blamed “weak” opposition parties for bickering ahead of 2024 polls. (PTI)
The former J&K CM said Nitish Kumar left the alliance himself, and all the others also said goodbye on their own since INDIA could not emerge as a strong bloc
National Conference vice-president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday admitted that the 400+ Lok Sabha seat target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for NDA for the upcoming polls is possible and achievable as he blamed “weak” opposition parties for bickering.
In an exclusive interview to News18, Abdullah listed reasons behind the BJP’s possible win this year and discussed the issue of terrorism in J&K.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of 400+ for NDA for the coming Lok Sabha polls. Do you think it is achievable?
Yes, of course. The 400+ target set by PM Modi is looking possible as the Opposition is very weak. The Opposition has failed to form a united front against BJP. Two months ago, this target was not looking achievable but now it looks like a reality and the reason is that the opposition is not so strong. As some more time is there for Lok Sabha polls, I hope that opposition parties will shun differences and stop the return of NDA for the third consecutive time.
How does one see the future of the INDIA bloc? Do you think that it still exists as many, including Nitish Kumar, have deserted it already and many more like Jayant Chaudhary are set to leave the alliance.
The alliance is very weak now. Congress cannot be held responsible for all this mess. Nitish Kumar left the alliance himself, and all the others also said goodbye on their own. INDIA bloc could not emerge as a strong unit and all its constituents are responsible for this. We tried to make a strong opposition bloc but so far we have not had much success in our efforts. Let us see what happens in the future.
What reasons do you think will be responsible for the BJP’s possible win for the third consecutive term?
BJP has money, Mandir, and muscle with it. They can use any of these cards to capture power again. The Opposition is weak and money-less and has a tough road ahead.
Two more innocent youths have become victims of terrorism. What is your comment on the fresh terror attack in Srinagar?
The killing of two innocent youths from Punjab is most unfortunate and condemnable. I believe that many more steps need to be taken to stop such targeted killings in Jammu and Kashmir. A lot of efforts need to be taken to restore confidence among minorities and common people. The killings are happening not only in Kashmir Valley but also in the Poonch-Rajouri belts of the Jammu region. The government is only making hollow claims about the return of normalcy but that is not looking visible on the ground.
Your party has been advocating for talks with Pakistan. Do you think that the situation is conducive to the resumption of talks with Pakistan?
I don’t think that Pakistan has created an atmosphere for the resumption of talks with India. We cannot always blame the Indian government for it. Pakistan must stop aiding terrorism and then only talks are possible. It must create a conducive atmosphere for talks as this is good for the people of both countries.
The government claims that huge investment is coming in Jammu and Kashmir, especially after the abrogation of Article 370. What is your view on this?
Where is that investment? Where are the jobs? The prime minister is coming here to inaugurate projects that have been planned and executed by the UPA regime. They only believe in making hollow claims and nothing is visible on ground.
The government and BJP are assuring that Kashmiri Pandits will be rehabilitated in the next tenure. What is your take on it?
They are talking about rehabilitating Kashmiri Pandits back in the Valley. Why could they not do it during the previous two regimes? Many Kashmiri Pandits passed away in the last 10 years without seeing this happening on the ground. This is just an eyewash and nothing else.
When will all opposition parties solve the seat-sharing issue in Jammu and Kashmir?
We will solve it. It is our internal matter. Nothing can be said at this juncture. We will soon start seat-sharing talks with Congress and PDP.
Do you think that assembly polls will be conducted in Jammu and Kashmir soon?
I don’t think they will hold assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir. They will conduct polls only if the BJP is sure about its win. Experience has proved it. BJP has lost ground in Jammu and Kashmir and so I hardly believe that they will take the risk of holding assembly polls here.