SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference (JKPC) chief Sajad Lone on Saturday said that National Conference president Farooq Abdullah should quit electoral politics and support his party in order to consolidate Muslim votes in Jammu and Kashmir.
Speaking to reporters here after former legislator and senior Peoples Democratic Party leader Nizam-ud-Din Bhat joined the JKPC, Lone was responding to a question about Abdullah’s remarks that attempts are being made to divide Muslim votes in J-K by propping up new political parties.
“If he (Abdullah) thinks that way, then let him not contest elections and support us. That way the Muslim vote will not get divided,” the JKPC chief said.
“His (Abdullah’s) daddy (Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah) was a chief minister, he himself was and his son (Omar Abdullah) also (was a chief minister). So now if a poor man’s son becomes a chief minister. Is there any objection to it?” he asked.
The JKPC chairman said his party is ready to take the NC’s support.
“Let them support us. I will do whatever he (Abdullah) says (then),” Lone said.
He said if Abdullah wants to prevent the division of Muslim votes, “then let him support us and we are ready to take that support”.
Earlier, Bhat joined the JKPC along with scores of his supporters.
Lone said it is a remarkable moment for him and the JKPC cadres to have Bhat back in the party.
“There is a certain level of emotion in welcoming Nizamuddin sahib back into the party fold. Nizam sahib was one of the founding members of the JKPC and the party archives remember him as an idealistic young man driven by a desire for change,” he said.
Bhat will complement the party’s efforts to script an agenda for change and help navigate J-K out of the “web of disempowerment” in a dignified manner, Lone said.
Bhat is bestowed with intellectual and analytical qualities and his connection with the masses will play a significant role in the party’s overall growth on the ground, he added.
Lone said that the people of J-K have been trapped since August 5, 2019, when the Centre revoked the special status of the erstwhile state, and the JKPC will stand up for them in “our united quest to retrieve what is rightfully ours”.
Describing his return to the JKPC as a homecoming, Bhat said he played a crucial role in the formation of the JKPC.
“And today, based on my decades of experience, I can tell you with utmost certainty that Sajad Lone is the only political leader who can honestly and sincerely and without any paradoxes lead the people of J-K. Power and government formation is not the party’s sole agenda.”
“PC shall play a crucial role in according dignity and honour back to the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
The need of the hour is to rebuild people’s trust in the institutions of democracy and justice and it is the JKPC alone that has got the saner voices to steer the ship to the shore and restore Kashmir’s dignity with impeccable will and determination, Bhat said.