Split Within PDP Possible, J&K Assembly Must be Dissolved to Prevent Horse-Trading: Omar Abdullah

New Delhi, Jun 21: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday said that a split within the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) was possible and he would not be surprised if some MLAs of the party decide to explore the option of joining the BJP.

In an exclusive interview to News18’s Pallavi Ghosh, Abdullah said that it is possible that a pressure group forms in the PDP which would want to ally with the BJP to return to power just like a pressure group dictated terms to Mehbooba Mufti after the death of her father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed.

The National Conference leader was reacting to BJP leader and former deputy chief minister (DCM) Kavinder Gupta’s statement that his party was “working on something”. In a surprise move, the BJP on Tuesday pulled out of the three-year-old ruling coalition with the PDP in the state that was placed under Governor’s rule on Wednesday morning.

Abdullah said that when one party loses an election, the leaders resign to their inevitable fate, “but the swiftness with which the BJP felled the government, many leaders in the PDP were taken by surprise and could decide to go the other way.”

When asked about some legislators also reaching out to the NC as well as the Congress, he made it clear that his party would not form the government. “We did not have the mandate in 2014 and we do not have it in 2018,” he said.

He also said that Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra must dissolve the assembly immediately to prevent any attempts of horse-trading by the BJP. The legislative assembly right now is under suspended animation, which means that the MLAs don’t lose their seats.

What they lose is the legislative power to make laws. So they are entitled to their salary and allowances since suspended animation means the assembly is suspended, not the MLAs.

An assembly is kept in suspended animation only if the governor feels that there is possibility of government formation in the near future. However, Abdullah said that this was a waste of taxpayer’s money and said that nobody in the right mind would want to form the government like this. My number one priority is to restore peace in the state, he said.

He further said that he had not been in touch with any PDP leader in the past couple of days as that too would amount to horse-trading. The former CM also ruled out any alliance with Mehbooba Mufti’s party, for now.

Asked whether the opposition unity that has been on display in the rest of the country could also make an appearance in Kashmir, Abdullah said there has been no approach from PDP to NC.

He backed Governor Vohra, whose term is ending on June 25, as the right man for the state in this time of uncertainty. The Centre has indicated that the decision on the new governor will be postponed to after the completion of the Amarnath Yatra.

Abdullah said that there was no need to change the governor as Vohra is a politically neutral man who has been in this situation before. This is the fourth time in his 10 years that Vohra, 82, is back to calling the shots in the state.

“There should be a reason to do a change. There is no logic behind changing the governor,” he said.

Abdullah said although the likes of BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir in charge have blamed the PDP for the situation in the state, both the parties were equally responsible for the destruction.

He said that the BJP’s strategy is clear – it wants to retain the seats it has in Jammu in the next year’s Lok Sabha elections. “But pulling out of the government now won’t help,” he said.

He also did not show any sympathy for Mehbooba Mufti, who has been under attack from the BJP, and said “she went to this alliance with eyes open. Nobody else except her has to be blamed for this,” he told News18. (News 18)

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