Oppn should have alliance on seats where BJP hopes to win, won’t backtrack from suggestion: Omar Abdullah

JAMMU: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Wednesday asserted that the INDIA bloc should have an alliance on seats where the BJP "hopes to win", a suggestion he made at the recent Delhi meeting of opposition parties that reportedly left the PDP miffed.

National Conference currently holds all three Lok Sabha seats of Kashmir valley, while BJP represents two seats of Jammu and one of Ladakh.

Although Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP, which along with the NC is part of the INDIA alliance from Kashmir, did not come out with any official statement on Abdullah's suggestion, PDP sources said their leadership is not happy with the National Conference leader's view.

The PDP believes that it was an attempt to sideline them and also undermine the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, a grouping formed in 2019 for the restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, the sources said.

But Abdullah on Wednesday said he will not backtrack from his suggestion.

"Should I not put forth my viewpoint? I have given the viewpoint of my party and it is my right. I have not forced my opinion on anyone. I have not walked out of or boycotted the meeting," the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister told reporters on the sidelines of a party function here.

He was responding to a question about reports suggesting PDP's unhappiness over his remarks on the seat-sharing formula at the INDIA alliance coordination committee's first meeting in Delhi last week.

"I have only said that when you are talking about seat sharing, there should be a formula...if our goal is to defeat the BJP, we should have an alliance on those seats where BJP hopes to win. I do not think the BJP is getting any seats from Kashmir. I have only put forth my viewpoint," the NC vice president said.

He said to accept his suggestion or not is up to the alliance and "I am not backtracking from my suggestion." Omar refused to comment on the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi's statement that he saw a scope for a third front.

"I will not like to speak for any third front, I will speak for the INDIA alliance... Owasi can have his single-party alliance also," he said.


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