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Farooq Abdullah threatens to boycott 2019 LS polls unless Centre clears stand on Articles 35A, 370

"We will not only boycott the panchayat elections but also the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections if the Centre doesn't clear its stand on Article 35A and Article 370," National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah said.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: September 8, 2018 2:42:42 pm
National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah addresses the media in Srinagar on Saturday. (ANI) National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah addresses the media in Srinagar on Saturday. (ANI

After his decision to not participate in the Jammu and Kashmir panchayat and urban local body polls, National Conference party chief Farooq Abdullah on Saturday threatened to withdraw from the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections if the Centre did not clear its stance on Articles 35A and 370.

Article 35A refers to a constitutional provision that allows the Jammu & Kashmir assembly to define permanent residents of the state. According to the Jammu & Kashmir Constitution, a Permanent Resident is defined as a person who was a state subject on May 14, 1954, or who has been residing in the state for a period of 10 years, and has “lawfully acquired immovable property in the state”.

Read | Won’t take part in J-K local polls till Centre clarifies position on Article 35 A: National Conference

Article 370, on the other hand, guarantees special status to the state.

Speaking to news agency ANI at an event in Srinagar, Farooq said, “We will not only boycott the panchayat elections but also the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections if the Centre doesn’t clear its stand on Article 35A and Article 370.”

“Agencies are spreading rumours that Kashmiri Pandits are scared. What Jagmohan (J&K Guv: 1984-89 and Jan-May’90) did earlier, they (agencies) think by spreading such rumours, the Kashmiri Pandits will leave. There’ll be an uproar in the rest of the country and Hindus and Muslims will be killed,” the NC leader alleged.

Read | What is Article 35A?

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister also said there are people with vested interests in both India and Pakistan who do not want relations between the two countries to improve. On BJP and opposition’s criticisms of Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who thanked Pakistan for reportedly allowing Sikh pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara across the border, Farooq said, “The manner in which the media has targeted Sidhu shows there are elements which do not want India-Pakistan relations to improve. There is a vested interest, both in India and Pakistan; such groups do not want peace in both the countries.”

Farooq added that India and Pakistan must be friends in order to prosper as two nations. “When an RSS leader like Atal Bihari Vajpayee can to Pakistan as the prime minister and say he’s the leader of the people in India.. if India accepts Pakistan as a nation and wants to strike a friendship with them.. if we are friends with our neighbours, both of us will prosper. I hope the prime minister thinks about this and works for it. But for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, India-Pakistan friendship is essential,” he said.

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