SRINAGAR: The National Conference patron Dr Farooq Abdullah has termed as baseless and untrue the revelation made by hard line BJP leader L K Advani that National Conference didn’t press for autonomy resolution and preferred to stay in coalition with BJP-led NDA government in New Delhi. Dr Farooq told reporters at a Press Conference called late in the evening at his residence that Advani has deliberately made these revelations in his autobiography My Country My Life to suit the BJP’s agenda of Ek Vidhan Ek Nishan Ek Pradhan— one constitution, one flag, and one premier.
“The National Conference has put forth a legal document in the shape of Autonomy report before New Delhi, which it can neither vomit out nor digest,” Dr Farooq Abdullah said. “It is not true that Advani told me to either quit or keep silent. Had we been silent we would not have suffered defeat in 2002 elections. The National Conference would die rather than surrender the autonomy. Even if I were to die in a jail I won’t surrender the autonomy,” the emotionally charged Dr Abdullah said.
Advani had written in his autobiography: “We advised him (Dr. Abdullah) not to press for the implementation of the SAC report. Indeed, Atalji told Dr. Abdullah to decide whether he would continue in the NDA at New Delhi following the rejection of the state assembly’s autonomy resolution by the union cabinet. To his credit, Dr. Abdullah allowed the issue to lapse.”
Dr Abdullah said after passing the autonomy resolution five copies of the report were forwarded to the Intelligence Bureau so that they can pass it on to the government of India. Asked why the IB was chosen to forward the copies, Dr Farooq said IB sleuths came to him and sought copies of the report, which were handed to over them with an intention that they will hand it over to the government directly.
“But when I met Advani he feigned ignorance about the report, though he had received the copies. Fortunate I had a copy of the report with me and I gave it to Advani myself,” he said, adding, “Advani said he was going to attend a function regarding Shama Prasad Mukerji at Calcutta and he would study the document later.”
He said in the cabinet the then Law Minister Arun Jaitly, Nitish Kumar, and George Fernandes had urged the parliamentarians to study the document and not reject it summarily. “But the BJP has its own agenda, and they rejected the report,” Dr Farooq said. After the rejection the National Conference decided to leave the NDA coalition, Dr Farooq said, but his mother Begum Akbar Jehan died in the meanwhile and both Advani and Atal Behari Vajpayee came to his home and offered condolences.
“At my residence here they urged me not to quit and promised they will consider the report,” Farooq said, adding, “Panthji (K.C.Panth) was appointed as convenor and asked to examine the report.” “In New Delhi they told me that if autonomy is given to the National Conference what they would offer to the separatists. I told them give autonomy to the separatists; I have no problem,” Farooq said.
“It is unexpected from a person who wants to be the next prime minister of India. Whatever he has written is untrue and baseless,” he said. About the strong criticism by the Peoples Democratic Party, Farooq said he was not bothered “what others are saying.”“The fact of the matter is that they will lose elections and their false slogans won’t help them out,” he said.
He said the PDP has failed to tell the people of state what it meant by self-rule, and now it wants to reveal it in Pakistan. “It speaks volumes about the party and its slogans,” he said. He said he was asked by the NC president Omer Abdullah to clear his position about the Advani’s statement. He said he won’t file a defamation suit against Advani. “My court is people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.-SANA