SRINAGAR: The forthcoming general elections will be a battle to save India, National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah said here on Saturday.
The former Jammu and Kashmir (J-K) chief minister also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making false promises to the people of the country.
"This election is a battle to save India. It is not just about Jammu and Kashmir. You have to safeguard religious freedom," Abdullah said here.
"This election is about whether India will remain a secular India or not. It is not a question about Farooq Abdullah, but the question of saving the country. So, remember this (election) is a bigger battle," he added.
The NC president, who is seeking re-election from Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, was addressing party workers at NC headquarters.
Abdullah said Modi had made many promises to the people ahead of the 2014 elections, but those promises were not kept.
"He (Modi) only lies. He made many promises. He said he will create two crore jobs every year, which means ten crore jobs in five years. Where are those jobs?," Abdullah said.
"He said he will reduce petrol and gas cylinder prices, but have they? The inflation has increased. Our farmers are still committing suicide," he added.
"Modi had promised to deliver on various issues concerning the nation during his 2014 election campaign, but he has aggravated the problems to an extent that it will take decades to solve," Abdullah said further.
"Modi government presents a tale of failures and misgovernment. People have now made it a point to give befitting reply to Modi for his failures and lies," the former Union minister added.
Referring to Balakot airstrikes, he said during the last few days in Parliament, several members said Modi had "failed on all fronts and there is nothing to show", so "he would create a war-like situation to divert the attention of people from the real issues".
"So, what did he do? How many Indian soldiers have been killed in Chhattisgarh, did Modi ever go there and pay his tributes? Did he ever sympathise with their families? Has he ever spoken anything on the soldiers getting killed here?" said Abdullah.
"Forty CRPF personnel were martyred (in Pulwama attack). I have doubts about that as well and I am telling you the truth," he said.
"He tried to attack Pakistan, saying we killed 300 (militants) there, some said 500 and some even said 1000, just to show that he has courage and can do anything," he added.
"They (Pakistan) have filed a case in a court seeking compensation for damages to its trees. But, it is with these things that he is trying to divert attention from real issues like farmer distress, joblessness and inflation," Abdullah added.
The NC president said Modi took credit of the successful test-firing of an anti-satellite missile which was actually prepared during former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's tenure.
"Do you know who had prepared this missile which destroyed a satellite? It was Manmohan Singh. But he did not declare it. Now, when there is an election, just to show that 'Hanuman ji tashreef laye hain' (Hanuman has come), he (Modi) pressed the button," he said.
"And one wrong button was also pressed in which that helicopter was crashed and our six Air Force personnel along with a civilian were killed," he added, referring to the crash of a Mi 17 helicopter in Budgam district on February 27.
The NC president also questioned the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.
"They were only raking up the issue of (construction of Ram) temple before, but now, where has that gone? It has been eaten by Balakot. Now that Balakot happened, they forgot the temple," he said.
Hitting out at Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for his assertions about the state's special status, Abdullah said Article 370 and Aricle 35-A sanctify the constitutional link between New Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir.
"They are hell bent to degrade our constitutional status. This assertion of his (Jaitley's) reveals their anti-Kashmir agenda," he said.
"Kashmiris have lent immense sacrifices to throw the autocratic yolk away from the state. We have never allowed anybody to enslave us and we will never give up on that trait of ours. We will fight for the unity and integrity of our state at any cost," he added.