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We were in NDA, but PM was courting J&K CM: Omar Abdullah

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | July 15, 2003 03:10 IST

National Conference president Omar Abdullah has revealed that one of the primary reasons for breaking away from the National Democratic Alliance was the manner in which his party was being marginalised.

Abdullah told rediff.com that the Centre was moving closer to the People's Democratic Party-led government in Jammu and Kashmir.

"We were a part of the NDA, but Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee ignored us and shared the platform with Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed during his public rally in Srinagar in April this year."

"Do you think he would have done this in any other state which has more representatives in the Lok Sabha. Since we have just five MPs, no one cares about us," an angry Abdullah complained.

The other reason, he said, was the outcome of the Best Bakery case in Gujarat.

"We had been assured that justice would be done. If the perpetrators of the Godhra train carnage could be booked under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, then the same should have been applied on those who indulged in violence post-Godhra."

"Instead, all the accused were released by the court for lack of evidence. The same thing could happen in other riot cases as well," Omar told rediff.com.

"Nobody would have taken us seriously if we took a stand against the Centre while we were a part of the NDA. To restore our credibility, we had to pull out of the NDA," he said.

He hoped to rebuild his party's image, which had received a severe blow during the state assembly elections last year.

He dismissed suggestions that the NC decision was influenced by the denial of a Union cabinet berth to his father and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah.

"I will reiterate that when Dr Abdullah was given a Rajya Sabha seat, he was categorically told that he will not be part of the Union government. Do you think the NDA could have denied him a place in the cabinet if we had asked for it?" the NC chief insisted.

He described the efforts of N N Vohra, government interlocutor on Kashmir, as meaningless.

"What will he achieve if he does not talk to the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference and people who have not accepted the accession of the state to India," he asked.

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