Omar seeks early elections in J&K

Srinagar, June 19 (IANS) Former Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Tuesday demanded early elections in Jammu and Kashmir after the BJP pulled out of the PDP-led government, forcing Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to resign.

Abdullah spoke to the media after calling on Governor N.N. Vohra following the fall of the PDP-BJP government in the troubled state.

"Today, suddenly around 2.30 p.m., news came that the BJP has severed its political relationship with the PDP.

"I have met the Governor just a little while back. I told the Governor that in the 2014 elections, the National Conference did not have the mandate to form a government and today also we don't have the mandate," he said.

"We have neither been approached nor have we approached any party for support to form a government in the state.

"The Governor has no option but to impose Governor's rule and improve the situation so that a democratic government is formed in the state after holding fresh elections," said Abdullah.

Abdullah said he had assured the National Conference's support to the Governor but added that the Governor and his administration must ensure that early elections are held to put an elected government in place.

"As a responsible political party, we will work for peace in all the three regions of the state."

Asked about the possible reasons for the BJP's pullout from the government, the National Conference leader said: "I can't speak for the BJP. They alone can explain what prompted their decision.

"Yes, I was surprised by the timing of the BJP decision. I expected this to happen later this year, but it happened sooner because of the deterioration in situation."

Asked whether the BJP had embarrassed the PDP by taking a unilateral decision, Abdullah said: "Whether PDP is embarrassed or not they would know, but I feel the BJP should have taken the PDP into confidence.

"But different parts function differently. They (BJP) claim radicalization and obviously they have better access to information than us.

"We believe that both these parties have together pushed the state down the precipice."

Abdullah said that Governor Vohra, with his vast experience, can help pull the state out of the current crisis.

Asked about his party's earlier offer of support made to the PDP, he said: "That was a one time offer and after they joined hands with the BJP, that offer ended."

Asked if his party was happy about the development, he said: "We do not celebrate this break- up. We are mourning the demise of democracy in the state".

Would he ask the Governor to keep the state Assembly in suspended animation or seek its dissolution? Abdullah replied: "That is the prerogative of the Governor and of nobody else."

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