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National Conference may walk out of NDA

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi | July 01, 2003 23:19 IST

In his bid to get back into the good books of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference president Omar Abdullah may even favour snapping ties with the National Democratic Alliance.

Government sources told on Tuesday that the NC did not attend the NDA meeting summoned by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at his Race Course Road residence in New Delhi on June 21, to consider the issue of sending peacekeeping troops to Iraq.

Asked about the possibility of the NC walking out of the NDA, Bharatiya Janata Party vice-president Pyarelal Khandelwal told "He (Omar Abdullah) has taken to criticising the Vajpayee government on various issues, including Gujarat."

"I think he feels that in order to catch votes in Jammu and Kashmir, he will have to distance his party from the NDA. His recent utterances against the central government are an indication in that direction."

BJP general secretary and spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, however, said, "The issue of the NC staying in the NDA or leaving it is between the two and the BJP would rather not comment."

Abdullah on Saturday criticised the Vajpayee government for what he said was its failure to protect Muslims.

He cited the example of the Best Bakery case and the slapping of the Prevention of Terrorist Act on Muslims in the Godhra case, and said Hindus guilty of atrocities against Muslims were getting soft treatment.

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