Health woes have kept Farooq Abdullah far away from home but the three-term Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir says that his bigger worry today is BJP’s “sinister” plan to abrogate the state’s special status which will lead to “massive unrest”.
For the first time in nearly four decades, the 77-year-old President of the ruling National Conference, who is in the UK for the last three months for treatment of failing kidneys, is unable to lead his party’s campaign in an Assembly election.
“I am a batsman under treatment but raring to go back to the field,” he said, explaining that he was unlikely to be in a position to go back home before February next, well after the Nov-Dec polls.
“But believe me my bigger worry is the known agenda of the BJP to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution which gives our state a special status for which commitments were given by Mahatma Gandhi and by the Government of India.
“They (BJP) will do anything to achieve their objectives. They will polarise this sensitive state as they have done in the rest of the country. They will strike deals with anyone,” Abdullah said.
Warning of serious implications of abrogation of Art 370, he said, “there would be massive unrest in younger minds and we will never achieve peace.”
About Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the veteran politician said, “I do not know whether he can go against the dictates of RSS on Art 370. It will be a great day for the entire nation when he understands the heartbeats of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Criticising BJP’s attempts to rope in separatist leader Sajjad Lone who recently met Modi, Abdullah said, “People who have been strong supporters of an independent Kashmir are being wooed by the BJP. Were they not the people who created hell in the state?”
Abdullah regards the current election as “very significant” because it will decide the future of the state as to whether Jammu and Kashmir will continue to enjoy autonomy within the Constitution of India or Art 370 will be dismantled.
Asked if there was a possibility of NC and Congress again coming together after the election, he replied, “time alone will tell.”
Abdullah was severe in his criticism of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s PDP which he called “BJP’s trojan horse”.
“PDP is the creation of RSS and BJP to fight the National Conference. Behind the doors they are very much part of BJP. It is Team B of BJP,” he claimed.
As for his own party, the NC leader ruled out any truck with the BJP. “We were part of NDA under Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He was a different person and those were different times.”