Following Congress's major lead in Karnataka Assembly polls, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday took a jibe at the BJP-led government at the Centre saying it would not have the courage to allow Assembly elections in the Union Territory.
“Now there is no way BJP will have the courage to allow Assembly elections to take place in J&K any time soon,” Omar Abdullah said.
Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti while congratulating Congress said the "divisive politics" was rejected by people of Karnataka. She also said she "hopes it is a new beginning for India".
"Congratulations to @INCIndia for sweeping Karnataka. Wasn’t easy given that BJP unleashed the most vicious communal campaign. The people of Karnataka have rejected division & bigotry. I hope this is the start of a new beginning for India," she said.
Jammu and Kashmir was downgraded and bifurcated from a state to two Union Territories, while its special status was abrogated on 5 August 2019 by the BJP-led government at the Centre.
Following the Centre’s decision, three former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, including Farooq Abdullah, who is also Srinagar MP, his son Omar Abdullah, and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti were put behind bars. Later, they were slapped with the Public Safety Act(PSA)—a law that allows the detention of any individual for up to two years without a trial or charge.
During that period almost all Kashmiri mainstream politicians including bureaucrat Shah Faesal, who had a brief stint in politics, were put behind bars.
In the present time, there has been a growing chorus from political parties in Jammu and Kashmir about holding Assembly elections in the erstwhile state.
The political parties including National Conference and PDP have been questioning the Centre’s “normalcy” claim in the Union Territory. They have been targeting to what prevents the Centre from holding Assembly elections in the Union Territory if things are “projected normal”. They have been vouching for restoring democratic institutions in Jammu and Kashmir.
Omar Abdullah's statement assumes significance considering he had been Union Minister of State for External Affairs in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's BJP-led NDA government in the early 2000s.
Meanwhile, as Congress inches for a victory, celebrations were witnessed at Congress’ headquarters at MA Road in Srinagar. The jubilant workers and leaders of the Congress J&K unit were seen dancing to the tunes of local drummers. The Karnataka victory seems to have elated Congress in Jammu and Kashmir, which otherwise witnessed desertions after former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s entry into the UT’s political arena.
“The victory has certainly sent a message across for BJP. There is no way that they can run this country through religious politics. Hatred politics has no place in our secular country,” said J&K Congress leader Surender Singh Channi, who is also the party’s general secretary in the UT. He also said that Karnataka's victory is a reflection for BJP to restore democracy in Jammu and Kashmir.
“They should restore statehood and immediately hold Assembly elections here,” said Channi.
Meanwhile, Karnataka CM and BJP leader Basavaraj Bommai has said that BJP has conceded defeat.