Kashmir Indepth

NC: Will contest poll only after restoration of statehood

Srinagar : Two days after meeting Abdullahs, the National Conference (NC) Member Parliament from north Kashmir, Muhammad Akbar Lone, said his party would enter into electoral politics only after J&K statehood was restored.

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“As a political party, we (NC) are supposed to be in the field and fight elections. But, we will contest any election only after restoration of J&K’s statehood. That is our pre-condition,” Lone said.

Lone was allowed to meet his party leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, on Thursday on directions of the J&K High Court.

He had one-hour-long meeting with Farooq on Thursday evening and then met him again on Friday 10.30 am at Gupkar residence. Later on, he called on Omar at Hari Niwas, where the later had been put in solitary confinement for the past 42 days.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government on August 5 abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two union territories. The decision saw unprecedented communication blockade, restrictions on public movement and crackdown on political leaders in the state.
It also blurred the lines dividing political parties in Kashmir which were unequivocally seeking the rescinding of August 5 decision.
“We (mainstream parties) will sit with all stakeholders and devise a strategy to fight for the restoration of Article 370. There is a consensus among us and our motive will be to restore Article 370 in the long run,” Lone said. “The restoration of Article 370 is a long struggle and will take years.”
Lone warned of a steep rise in militancy because of the abrogation of 370 and blamed the BJP of behaving “arrogantly”.
Lone took a dig at separatists for their silence over the abrogation Article 370.
“The separatists should have issued statements over the issue but they prefer silence,” he said.
Lone said both were from the mainstream and while the separatists were part of the same social set up in Kashmir but working on different lines. “We (mainstream) vouch for India and they (separatists) demand Azadi, but India betrayed us,” he said.

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