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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

Azad, Sajad Lone label Omar Abdullah a ‘tourist’ dabbling in Valley politics

Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad and the Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Conference (JKPC) on April 15 labelled National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah “a tourist”.

Mr. Azad was canvassing in the Chenab Valley, which is part of the Udhampur-Doda constituency. Mr. Azad said, “Omar Abdullah is a tourist who spends summers in London and winters in warmer climates abroad.”

Mr. Azad said Abdullah and his cohorts continue to live luxuriously despite the measures they initiated that caused misery in the Valley like the Public Safety Act (PSA). They also need to answer for the loss of innocent lives.

Closet BJP ally

“Where were these political tourists during these 10 years of suffering? Did they raise their voices against ‘land eviction’ or Article 370 in Parliament? No. They seem to be aiding the BJP in every action. Their leaders are too busy appeasing the BJP, just check their statements,” Mr. Azad said.

“They are the ones who declared their doors open for the NDA (National Democratic Alliance), not me. So, who’s the BJP’s A team? It’s the NC,” he added.

Mr. Azad’s tourist jibe came just a day after JKPC chief Sajad Lone, who is pitted against Mr. Abdullah on the Baramulla seat, made a similar remark, obliquely suggesting Mr. Abdullah was an outsider for the seat. Mr. Lone again targeted Mr. Abdullah on April 15 and questioned the NC’s relations with the BJP.

“BJP is an ideological party. Omar Abdullah doesn’t have any ideological dispute with the BJP or Hindutva, but rather his issues seem to be more personal. It appears that Mr. Modi doesn’t give him attention, while Mr. Vajpayee likely did. Therefore, in the future, if anyone from the BJP ideology extends attention to him, Omar Abdullah would have no hesitation in aligning with them,” Mr. Lone said.

Target of compulsion

Reacting to the jibe, NC spokesperson Ifra Jan, in a post on X, said, “Today Sher-e-Kashmir’s (a title for NC founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah) grandson is being called a tourist outsider by the BJP’s B teams. Tomorrow all of us will be called outsiders. What happens after that? What is the plan?”

Mr. Abdullah, who is currently campaigning for INDIA bloc ally Congress in Udhampur-Doda constituency, accused Mr. Azad of “targeting the NC out of compulsion, as he cannot target the BJP.”

“Mr. Azad is targeting NC president Farooq Abdullah. Though we considered him as our friend, he turned out to be a friend of the BJP,” he said.

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