The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Abdullah pulls out of NDA

Srinagar July 12: National Conference president Omar Abdullah today announced that the party was parting ways with the National Democratic Alliance, saying it was never too late to make such a move.

“The decision to pull out of the NDA was taken by the central working committee, which met here two days ago to discuss in detail the causes of defeat of the National Conference at hustings last year. The meeting also discussed the political situation in the state,” Abdullah said at the party headquarters here.

“The decision was unanimous,” the party president said. “After deliberations on various aspects, the working committee decided to pull out of the NDA,” he said.

“They never listened to us. We got no answers when we raised the important issues of Gujarat, arrest of innocent Muslims under Pota. We wanted concrete steps to be taken on Kashmir, including a ceasefire and the involvement of Kashmiri separatists in the dialogue,” he said.

“I should have pursued my resignation after the Gujarat carnage. But it would have made our credibility suspect had we waited to capitalise on it,” he said.

“Being a regional party, the National Conference has to safeguard Article 370 of the Constitution and seek greater autonomy for the state,” Abdullah said. “During the past six years, we had become Delhi’s voice in Kashmir rather than the people’s voice.”

Abdullah said people on both sides of the Line of Control should be involved in the resolution of the Kashmir problem. “Any solution has to be acceptable to the people.” He, however, pointed out that “both New Delhi and Islamabad have sought third party intervention on Kashmir”.

Omar said his father, former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, had wanted some international personality with “credibility and status to bring the two countries together” to play a role in resolving the row.

He criticised chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and his healing touch policy, saying: “Mufti is closer to the NDA and human rights violations are continuing in Kashmir.”

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