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NDA marginalized us: Omar Abdullah

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | July 15, 2003 12:28 IST

The National Conference broke ties with the National Democratic Alliance because it was being marginalized, party president Omar Abdullah told rediff.com on Monday.

"We were allies of the NDA and we expected that NDA leaders would appreciate our feelings. But Prime Minister (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee chose to ignore us and share the platform with (Chief Minister) Mufti Mohammed Sayeed during his public rally in Srinagar in April this year. Do you think he could have done this in any other state that has more representatives in the Lok Sabha. Since we have just five members, who cares about us," he said.

The verdict in the Best Bakery case in Gujarat had added to the disenchantment with the government, he said.

"We had been assured that justice would be done. If the perpetrators of Godhra train burning could be booked under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, then those who indulged in riots should have also been booked under POTA. Instead, we see that all the accused persons were released by the court for lack of evidence."

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

"What is he going to achieve if he is not going to talk to All Party Hurriyat Conference people, who have not accepted the accession of the state to the Union of India."

Asked how he would fulfil his promise of getting autonomy for J&K, he said, "We will have to work for it. The Government of India is taking about give and take with Pakistan; why can't it extend this logic to the people of Kashmir.

"Certainly you are not going to give independence to those who are seeking it, but you will have to do some bargaining. I am not asking for anything outside the Constitution. What the National Conference is saying is that give us autonomy within the frame work of the Constitution."

He hoped to rebuild his party's image, which was booted out of power in J&K last year.

"We could not have taken stand against the Centre by remaining part of the NDA… nobody would have taken us seriously. So to restore our credibility we had to pull out of the NDA," he said.

He denied that the NC had snapped ties with the NDA because his father, Farooq Abdullah, had been denied a berth in the Union Cabinet.

"I have clarified in the past and I am doing so again that when

Abdullah was given a Rajya Sabha seat, he was categorically told that he was being sent to Rajya Sabha only and he would not be part of the Union government. Do you think they could have denied him a place in the Cabinet if we had asked for it?"

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