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Didn't back UPA in trust vote at Rahul's bid: Omar

Last updated on: March 18, 2011 17:15 IST

'Allegations of bribes to MPs could be probed'



Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday said he had extended support to the United Progressive Alliance government during the July 2008 trust vote on his own and not at the bidding of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi but felt the allegations of bribes to MPs at that time could be probed.

"I don't believe that somebody of this stature...of the Prime Minister or Mrs (Sonia) Gandhi would ever sanction any sort of system of buying votes but what happened I think needs to be gone into," Omar tweeted.

Omar recalled that it was not Rahul Gandhi who approached him for his party's support during the trust vote in 2008 but it was he, who "got in touch", with Gandhi.

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Image: Rahul Gandhi and Omar Abdullah wear traditional Karakul caps during a 2009 general election campaign rally in Anantnag
Photographs: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters

'I had a conversation with PM'

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"I had conversations that I recall at least, with the prime minister at that time. I don't specifically recall a conversation with Rahul (Gandhi) where he solicited the support of the National Conference," Omar said.

"Infact I, if I remember correctly, I got in touch with Rahul and asked him how the process was going and if there was any way in which we could help because I am a firm believer that India needed to secure this deal to improve its energy position...," Omar told reporters.

According to the Wikileaks cable, Captain Satish Sharma had said that Rahul Gandhi was 'personally working Omar (Abdullah).'

"And my thoughts, what I believed, is what I stated in my speech in Parliament on July 22 during that crucial vote. So I honestly don't recall Rahul calling me or asking me for support. I do remember a couple of conversations with the Prime Minister during which I myself assured him that the National Conference is supportive of this bill of this nuclear deal and that we would be happy to vote along with the government," he said.

Image: PM Manmohan Singh
Photographs: Thierry Roge/Reuters
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'There are factual inaccuracies in the cable'

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Omar said he cannot not confirm whether huge money was involved as alleged in the Wikileaks, and this issue could be "gone into".

"I am the wrong person to comment about this because while there are certain factual inaccuracies in the Wikileaks cable. Obviously the question that arises that why was a diplomat from the US embassy...invent a complete story," he said.

"Now what is the truth behind this, what actually transpired, what happened, only those people involved in this will know and I guess at some point in time we will have to establish the truth in what happened," he said.

"That having been said, let's not forget that there was an inquiry, there was a committee headed by a senior Parliamentarian at that time who inquired into all aspects of the cash-for-vote scandal and found the allegations to be unfounded," he said.

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'Love the BJP's holier than thou attitude'

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He also took a dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party over the attack against the UPA government on Wikileaks and said how he could have 'forgotten their approaches and offers in 1998-99' when the National Democratic Alliance government faced trust vote.

"Love the BJP's holier than thou attitude. I haven't forgotten their approaches & (and) offers in 1998-99 when they faced votes in Parliament," Omar tweeted.

"And no there were no offers of money even in 98-99 but we were asked what they could do for us. I did ask for sovereign counter guarantees like for Enron for our power projects for our state but we didn't get those." Omar tweeted further.

Image: Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah
Photographs: Reuters
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