Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Monday voiced hope that parties facing the BJP in the states will revisit their decision to vote for NDA pick Ram Nath Kovind “considering the situation” in the country.
Kovind is pitted against Meira Kumar, nominated by the Congress-led opposition. The NDA, led by the BJP, has 5,37,683 votes including the Shiv Sena in Monday’s poll, falling short by around 12,000 votes. But the promised support from the BJD, the TRS and the YSR Congress, and the likely backing from the AIADMK factions could offset the shorfall by a substantial margin.
“So there is hope that those parties, which have till now opposed the BJP and will be the target of the party in the coming state elections, might change their decision (to support Kovind) at the last moment considering the situation in the country,” Omar told reporters after casting his vote at Jammu and Kashmir assembly. “As far as the numbers are concerned, it seems the NDA has an advantage in the electoral college, but in a secret ballot you cannot show your vote to anyone,” he said.
The National Conference (NC) working president said the opposition parties are discussing how to put up a fight against the BJP in the run-up to the 2019 general elections. “They have a government at the centre, most states also have BJP governments, so it is obvious the president, vice-president as well as the prime minister will be from the party. The opposition is discussing how we can change this situation in the time to come. We have to get ready for 2019 to fight the BJP,” he said.
Asked about Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s statement accusing China of meddling in Jammu and Kashmir, Omar said she was holding everyone responsible for the “deteriorating” situation except herself. “The biggest reason for the deteriorating situation in the state is the failure of the chief minister,” he said. Mehbooba had, on Saturday, claimed external forces were creating problems in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Kashmir issue is not a law and order problem. It is happening because of external forces. The ongoing fight is a handiwork of external forces and now unfortunately China is also trying to meddle into it,” she had told reporters after a meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh.