PDP skips crucial meet but says it’s on the same page
National Conference (NC) leader and former chief minister, Omar Abdullah Thursday said the leaders who participated in an the All Party Meeting called by the party unequivocally demanded shifting of Additional Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta from Article 35-A case for going beyond his brief.
Talking to media persons after the APM called by NC President Farooq Abdullah, Omar said the meeting took stock of the prevailing security and political situation in the State.
“All the leaders in a unison decided that the additional solicitor general has crossed his brief. Even the State government has accepted this. So we don’t trust him. We have all decided that Tushar Mehta should be taken off the Article 35-A case when this comes up in January for hearing,” the former chief minister said.
He said Mehta was sent to defend the State and the Article 35-A case and was not representing the Government of India (GoI) or any political party or himself.
“We don’t trust him anymore. The lawyer who was defending it earlier must be brought back to defend the case,” Omar said.
He said Jammu Kashmir was under GoI rule and people of Jammu Kashmir were yet to know the stand of New Delhi over the issue of Article 35-A.
“We all know the State is under the Governor’s rule which is directly under GoI’s control. Since we don’t know the position of GoI on Article 35-A, we have apprehensions regarding the defence of the case in the Supreme Court. We demand that the case should not proceed until J&K has an elected government,” the NC Vice President said.
Omar said they had also decided that they would write to the government that they would want elections to take place first so that there is elected government in the Valley and then this case can be defended.
On boycott of Urban Local Bodies (ULB) Panchayat polls in the State, he said NC had not asked people to boycott.
“But if the government thinks without the participation of two major parties any election is worth, let them go ahead,” he said.
Last month during the hearing of Article 35-A in the apex court, the Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta suggested that Article 35-A and certain aspects needed to be debated upon and said, "It can't be denied that there is an aspect of gender discrimination in it (Article 35A)".
Earlier, the APM convened by NC President was attended by NC General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar, senior leader Abdul Rahim Rather, Muhammad Shafi (Uri) along with senior Congress leader Taj Mohiuddin, CPI (M) leader Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami and Democratic Party Nationalist President Ghulam Hassan Mir were present.
However, NC’s rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was conspicuous with its absence.
PDP chief spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir said the party did not attend NC’s APM because the agenda of the meeting had not been conveyed to them.
He said all the parties were on the same page when it comes to Article 35-A or any other issue concerning the rights and interests of the people.
“We had taken a firm stand on Article 35-A when we were in the government and will continue to do so now out of the government too,” Mir said.
He said the decision to go ahead with the polls even after NC and PDP had announced a boycott shows the difference between the Governor’s rule and a popular government.