Omar dubs BJP manifesto as `mere sloganeering`

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday termed BJP`s manifesto as "mere sloganeering" and said issues like Common Civil Code, Ram temple and Article 370 are handles for the party to come to power.

PTI| Last Updated: Apr 07, 2014, 18:59 PM IST

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday termed BJP`s manifesto as "mere sloganeering" and said issues like Common Civil Code, Ram temple and Article 370 are handles for the party to come to power.

The similar views were echoed by his father and President of National Conference Farooq Abdullah who said BJP was trying "to fool people by selling dreams".
Omar, who has been aggressively campaigning for Congress candidates in Jammu and Udhampur Lok Sabha seats, reminded people that this was not the first time that issues like Article 370, Ram Mandir and Common Civil Code have been raised by BJP.

"Please tell me when did they actually address these issues when they were in power. What was done by them on these issues?" Omar asked, reacting to BJP manifesto.
He said BJP uses these issue as "handles" to come to power and the moment they reach their destination, these points are put on the back burner. "This is purely an effort to hoodwink the voters of this country," he said.

In its manifesto, BJP has promised abrogation of Article 370, saying if the party came to power, it would hold talks with all stakeholders.

The party also promised return of all Kashmiri Pandits to their homes in the Valley besides development of all three regions and addressing issues of refugees from Pakistani occupied Kashmir.

Omar, who toured the Kashmiri Pandit camps at Jagati in Jammu, said his government was able to bring some families back to the Valley without making much noise.

He said his government was committed to improve the security environment in the Valley so that they can consider returning home.

The senior Abdullah, who has been camping for the National Conference-Congress alliance candidates, said BJP dare not even touch the issue of Article 370. "I wonder how many times they will lie," he said.

Abdullah regretted that Babri Masjid issue was again brought to the fore by BJP in its manifesto and posed, "What can you make of a party which talks about the issues that are bound to hit the secular fabric of this country?"

BJP has promised to explore all possibilities within the Constitution to construct Ram temple.

Omar said no party can revoke the Article 370 without re-opening the entire issue of accession?of Jammu and Kashmir to India.

"As far as Article 370 is concerned, let us understand it cannot be revoked without reopening the entire question of? accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India. If the BJP is prepared to reopen that question, we have no problem talking? about it. The problem is the BJP is absolutely unclear about? what it wants," he said.

The Chief Minister claimed he had approached BJP Prime Ministerial nominee Narendra Modi for a discussion on the issue but he retreated.

"When their Prime Ministerial candidate came to Jammu? some months ago and very grandly announced that he is willing to talk to anybody about article 370 and I said fine, I?am ready. Tell me where and when I will come and talk to you.

The answer I got from BJP was that he was too busy, and he is too higher level to talk to me. If this is their attitude about a dialogue it shows their seriousness and I do not think we should be unduly concerned about it," Omar claimed.

Criticising the BJP for its leader Amit Shah`s "revenge" speech in Bijnore, Omar said the Election Commission should closely look into the issue.

"I think that is the matter that the EC needs to look?at closely because clearly there is a divergence between what they say and what they intend. All this talk about development is negated when Amit Shah stands up and tells that this is for revenge," he said.

Omar also took a dig at BJP for seeking votes in the name of Modi, saying the country has a lot to fear from "personality cult" that has developed in the saffron party.

"If revenge is their motive then I think this country has a lot to fear from the personality cult that has been developed.

"Earlier, we thought the people had been asked to vote? for a BJP government, for an alliance government, now it is? not a BJP or alliance government. It is almost like we are? being asked to vote for a dictatorship of an individual and that individual is hell bent on revenge which is clear from? his right hand man who has let the cat out of the bag perhaps? by mistake," he said.