Sumbal/Kangan: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) working President Omar Abdullah on Saturday said both India and Pakistan would have to settle the Kashmir issue according to the sentiments and aspirations of the people of the state.
Addressing massive election rallies in Sumbal and Kangan assembly seats, Omar said the people of his state were primary stakeholders of their political destiny and any possible solution would have to respect their dignity and sentiments.
"There isn't a moment in my political career that I have wasted in not demanding the resolution of the Kashmir issue according to the sentiments and political aspirations of our people. I have said so as an elected Chief Minister in office and I have said so in front of a visiting Indian Prime Minister.
"No amount of economic packages or dreams about development can substitute the need for an acceptable and just resolution of our political issue. We can build a thousand concrete bridges and pave thousands of kilometres of new roads but until and unless we build a political bridge that connects the people of this state to their political aspirations, the ground reality will remain unchanged," Omar said.
He said he was surprised at certain statements being made by Congress and PDP about the need to resolve the Kashmir issue and to protect Article 370.
"Congress was in power at the Centre for decades and Mufti Sayeed was their face in J and K all this while. What did Congress or Mufti Sayeed do to resolve the political issue in Kashmir? Rather, when Article 370 was eroded from 1953 to 1975, it was done by Congress party at the Centre and its "pliant, puppet regimes in Srinagar with Mufti Sahab as a permanent feature of this operation."
"Mufti Sahab might have great contempt for the subject of history as he deems it irrelevant but the fact is that Mufti Sahab was the face of Congress in J and K and when massive constitutional erosions were made to deprive J and K of what it had been promised through the instrument of accession and through Article 370," he said.
The Chief Minister questioned how has protecting Article
370 become a concern for Congress and Mufti (Sayeed) when it was both of them who left no stone unturned to "erode" it in the first place?
"Why did you illegally depose and incarcerate Sher-e-Kashmir for 23 years due to his stand on safeguarding the political aspirations of our people and for his stand on Article 370 then? The people of J and K have been fooled way too many times because of our tendency to trust and we won?t be fooled again," Omar said.
He also expressed regret that Congress Chairperson Sonia Gandhi made certain "inaccurate" remarks about the food security bill without taking into account his party's opposition to this legislation as it would deprive around 15 lakh people in the state of subsidised ration and foodgrains.
"We will not allow any bill or Act to hurt the interests and rights of our people? there should be no doubt about that in any political quarter. The interests of the people of J and K are supreme for us. Also, I find it amazing that the Congress leadership sees issues with NC today but was appreciative of NC when we were out campaigning for Rahul Gandhi in Lok Sabha elections which we fought jointly.
"If the criticisms are to be deflected towards NC, by the same logic, the achievements of the last six years are also singularly to NC's credit. Congress has been in the government in J and K for six years and has had important portfolios in my cabinet," he said.
Now when elections are here, Omar said, "rather than being confident in their campaigning and trying to show some basic minimum confidence about the report cards of their own ministers they want to pretend that they were in the opposition all this while and want to play the victim card. And sadly, the Congress Chairperson's remarks are in the same line too."
He took on BJP too during his campaign.
"BJP talks about winning the hearts of our people but the fact remains that they have never accepted our flag, our special status, our identity and our political sentiments. First accept our flag and our political sentiments and then talk about winning hearts and minds," he said.