Jammu and Kashmir did have own president, PM; what did I say wrong: Omar Abdullah

Omar Abdullah said when he was a minister in the Vajpayee regime, internal autonomy was in the NC party's manifesto, but why was it a problem now, he questioned.

Published: 03rd April 2019 01:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd April 2019 01:05 AM   |  A+A-

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah (File Photo | PTI)

By PTI

SRINAGAR: National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah Tuesday defended his statement that his party would strive hard for restoring the terms of accession of Jammu and Kashmir, including the provisions for having a 'sadr-e-riyasat' and wazir-e-azam in the state.

"I have not said anything wrong. I have only reiterated what is a reality. Is it not true that since the day J&K became the part of the country, it had its own 'sadar-e-riyasat' (president) and wazir-e-azam (prime minister) till 1965?" Omar asked reporters at Pattan in north Kashmir's Baramulla district.

He said it was the stand of his party even when he was a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government at the Centre.

"This is not something new the NC is saying. When I was a minister in the NDA under Vajpayee, then also it was in our manifesto, then also we were talking about the internal autonomy and also about pre-1953 position. If it was right to say these things at that time, then how am I suddenly wrong now?" he said.

The former state chief minister said his party wants the restoration of the terms of accession, including the restoration of internal autonomy, on the basis of which Jammu and Kashmir became the part of India.

READ HERE | If articles 370, 35A are temporary, so is Jammu and Kashmir's accession to India: Farooq Abdullah

"Our stand is same now as it was then. We want the restoration of the internal autonomy of the state and the restoration of the pre-1953 conditions on the basis of which this state had become the part of this country," he said.

In a speech during a rally at Bandipora on Monday, Omar Abdullah had said J&K's accession with India occurred with various constitutional safeguards for the state and if these safeguards were tampered with, the entire scheme of accession would be under question.

He said the party would fight any attempt to fiddle with the state's special status.

"We won't allow any more attack our on special status. On the contrary, we will strive to get back what was infringed upon. We will work towards getting back the coveted posts of 'sadr-e-riyasat' and prime minister for our state," the NC vice-president had said.

The NC vice president's remarks has drawn sharp criticism from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has asked the Congress and the 'mahagatbandhan' (opposition alliance) to spell out their stands over Omar Abdullah's statement.

The NC vice-president also said his party was ready to work with any other party, including the PDP, to safeguard the state's special status.

"We are ready to work with any one for saving Article 370 and Article 35A. We will fight it out in the courts and even on the roads," said Omar Abdullah.

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"For saving the Article 370 and Article 35A, if we need to take support from anyone or give support to anyone, we will do it," said Omar Abdullah, when asked if the NC would support the PDP on the issue.

He said his party had lent its support to the PDP and the Congress last year to form a government only to safeguard the state's special status.

"You saw how we tried to make (then PDP leader) Altaf Bukhari the chief minister of the state some months back. Why was it done? It was only to save Article 370 and Article 35A. We gave support to the PDP and Congress that time and if there is a need for more steps in the future, we will take them," he said.

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