SRINAGAR: With the Modi wave sweeping Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir’s former Chief Minister and Opposition National Conference working president Omar Abdullah on Saturday said there is no leader today with a pan India acceptability, who can take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi andthe BJP in 2019 general elections and advised the opposition to forget 2019 elections and start planning for 2024 polls.
In a series of tweets after BJP’s landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Omar said, “In a nutshell, there is no leader today with a pan India acceptability who can take on Modi and the BJP in 2019”.
He said at this rate, the opposition might have to forget 2019 general elections in the country and start planning and hoping for 2024 elections.
“I said "at this rate", which allows scope for change provided we wake up to the scale of the challenge and make an effort to change,” said Omar, who was Minister of State for External Affairs during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government.
He opined that the parties would have to change strategies to beat the saffron party. “BJP isn't unbeatable but strategy needs to shift from criticism to positive alternate”.
“I have said this before and I will say it again that the voter needs to be given an alternative agenda that is based on what we will do better,” Omar said adding, “Criticising PM will only take us so far. The voter needs to know there is an option available to them that has a clear positive road map”.
On BJP’s win in UP, the former J&K CM said, “How the hell did almost all the experts and analysts miss this wave in UP. It's a tsunami not a ripple in a small pond.”
He advised the opposition politicians better to face up to reality today and do something about it than bury the collective heads in the sand. “A spade is a spade is a spade.”
On debate that PM Modi is the most popular leader in the country since independence, Omar said, “Perhaps when he gets a mandate greater than Rajiv Gandhi's in 1984, we can begin to discuss this boastful claim.”
He said the BJP win in UP and other states will have implications for Rajya Sabha and President and Vice President elections.
Meanwhile, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said BJP’s landslide victory in UP and Uttarakhand polls and impressive performance in Manipur and Goa is a clear and decisive mandate for the governance, developmental and economic agenda of PM Modi.
“I congratulate PM Modi and his party on this resounding victory which is an endorsement of his government’s governance, developmental and economic agenda,” she said.