Dubbing People's Democratic Party demand for his resignation as a political stunt, National Conference President Farooq Abdullah [ Images ] on Thursday dismissed allegations of "political payoffs" against him and said truth will emerge in the judicial inquiry into the death of an NC worker.
"Farooq Abdullah has nothing to do with it. Whatever has to come will come in the judicial inquiry. We have nothing to hide. What else you want me to say.... The truth will come out," Abdullah told reporters after a meeting of party members of Legislative Assembly and ministers.
He said the opposition PDP's demand for his and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's [ Images ] resignation pending the judicial inquiry into the death of NC worker Syed Mohammad Yousuf, allegedly in police custody, was nothing but a political stunt.
"This is a political stunt. They (PDP) don't want National Conference-Congress government to stay. They only want power," Abdullah, who is a Union Minister, said.
The National Conference President said the opposition will have to apologise for levelling "baseless" allegations as they have done in the past. "They have apologised in the past and I promise you they will apologise on this also," he said.
Asked about allegations levelled by National Conference worker Abdul Salam Reshi, he said, "Anyone can mention anybody's name. You cannot stop anyone. This is a democratic country, not an autocratic country."
Abdullah said NC has always selected people on the basis of merit and money has never been a factor.
"There are MLAs and Ministers here, ask them if they have paid anything. NC has never asked for money and it will remain the same in future as well," he said on the allegations of "political payoffs".
Sixty-one-year-old NC worker Yousuf had died last week shortly after being handed over to the Crime Branch in connection with bribery allegations, triggering demands by PDP and the Bharatiya Janata Party [ Images ] for resignation of Omar and his father Farooq Abdullah.
Abdullah said the opposition PDP was targeting his party as it wanted only power. "This government is made of up two parties. They have only attacked NC and not Congress."
He said the NC has nothing to hide in the case relating to death of Yousuf on September 29. "Omar on his own ordered a judicial inquiry. Let the inquiry find out the truth. It is a National Conference worker who has died. Why are they (PDP) beating their chests?" he asked.
In response to a question, he said the credibility of National Conference remains strong.
Asked if there was any reshuffle in the party, Abdullah said there was "no reshuffle but the party is being strengthened.
"(General Secretary) Sheikh Nazir has not been keeping well. Sheikh Mustafa Kamal has been appointed as additional General Secretary and party spokesman so that he can run the party affairs," he said.
Reshi, who said he was present during the interaction between Omar and Yousuf, claimed the deceased was fine when he entered the room but was visibly unwell after he came out of the CM's residence.
Reshi, an NC worker from Kokernag, claimed that Yousuf vomitted soon after coming out of the CM's residence. Claiming that the incident had exposed "governance
deficit" in the state, PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti alleged that the judicial inquiry was just an attempt to "hide behind something which does not exist at all.... "If they really want the institutions to work, their credibility should be restored. For that the person who has been allegedly involved should step aside for sometime till things become clear," she said.
Her colleague Dilawar Mir claimed that it was not a political issue. "If an NC worker is not safe, how can an ordinary person be safe?"
Defending the raising of the issue by his party, another PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig said, "The job of the opposition is to expose the misdeeds of the government."