Srinagar, National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah on Thursday presided over a meeting of prominent politicians from various political parties of the state at his Gupkar residence in Srinagar.
In the meeting NC vice President Omar Abdullah, General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, Senior leader Ab Rahim Rather, Mohammad Shafi Uri, senior Congress leader Taj Mohiuddin, CPIM leader Mohd Yousuf Tarigami, DPN President Gh Hassan Mir were present.
Talking to media on the sidelines of the meeting, NC Vice President Omar Abdullah said, “In the meeting, threadbare discussions were held on the state’s current political and security scenario. Dr Farooq Abdullah apprised the leadership from other political parties about NC’s stand on Art 35 A, ULB and Panchayat polls and its decision of staying away from these elections. They also spoke at length about issues confronting the state and gave their valuable feedback to our party President.”
“Two important issues were raised in the meeting and were subsequently agreed upon by all. Most important was the issue of Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, employed by the state to defend Art 35 A in the Hon’ble SC. It was unanimously resolved that the ASG, who was supposed to represent state government, exceeded his brief while defending Art 35 A in the SC and violated the trust reposed on him. He was not representing any political party nor was he the representative of Government of India. He was supposed to confine his arguments as per the directions from the state government which he clearly violated. Thereby we don’t trust the ASG anymore and the leaders in the meeting resolved that the state government immediately asks him to stand down. The state government, therefore, must hand over the case to the councils who will put forth the arguments of the state and not of any individual or party to defend Article 35 A in the SC,” the party vice president said.
Asking government of India to clear its stand on Art 35A in and outside the courts, Omar said, “It’s not only NC which is asking for GoI’s clarification on Art 35 A, others are also demanding it. But till date, nothing is coming out from the government. Under such circumstances, we would request the central government to defer the hearing on Art 35 A on January 09 2019, till a democratically elected government is in place in the state. It’s their job then to protect and safeguard Art 35 A in the SC.”
Responding to a question on party’s decision of not participating in ULB and Panchayat elections because of Art 35 A, Omar said, “It’s the government which connected the two by putting up an argument in the SC wherein it asked for deferment of the case on Art 35 A citing the upcoming ULB and panchayat polls,” adding, “We have never said to boycott elections neither are we running an election boycott campaign. The NC core group has decided that our party will not participate in these elections unless and until Government of India and the state government clears its position on Art 35 A and take effective steps for its protection in and outside the Courts.”
“If the state government wants to go ahead with the election, it’s their decision. We cannot stop them. The fact that two major regional political parties, with three former chief ministers, are not participating in these elections and if GoI thinks they can go ahead with elections then they are free to do it. If anyone wants to contest they are free to do so,” Omar said.