Former J&K CM Farooq Abdullah stole the show at book launch

NEW DELHI: With his wit and politically loaded remarks, National Conference (NC) leader Farooq Abdullah stole the show during a panel discussion following the launch of Congress leader Manish Tewari’s book “Fables of Fractured Times.”

Mr Abdullah, the senior NC leader and former J&K CM, hit out at BJP General Secretary, Ram Madhav, over the latter’s allegation that parties in Kashmir such as the National Conference (NC), were getting instructions from Pakistan.

Abdullah said, “The fax machine in our Governor’s office doesn’t work. Then how would we receive instructions from Pakistan?”

Madhav had, on Thursday, 22 November, alleged that “fresh instructions” were given to the two regional parties of Kashmir (NC and PDP) from across the border to come together and form a government.

Madhav had later retracted his comments.

Mr. Abdullah drew more applause when he, after criticising the Congress for not presenting Atal Bihari Vajpayee during the UPA tenure, told former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seated by him, “Please don’t mind me saying this. I also hope that they will give you Bharat Ratna.” Singh only smiled.

Mr. Abdullah said that the Congress, rather than the BJP-led NDA, should have conferred the Bharat Ratna on late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The former Prime Minister was given the country’s highest civilian award in 2015 at his residence months after NDA came to power.

Lamenting that the political discourse in the country has hit a new low, Mr. Abdullah said PM Modi is using foul language against India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru as well as other leaders such as Indira Gandhi.

“Has he forgotten what Nehru did for the country? Has he forgotten what Indira Gandhi did for this country — she gave her life for the nation. If we are here, it is because of the legacy that has been passed on to us. His (Modi’s) conduct is just not becoming of the prime minister. I have never referred to my mother in my political speeches. What is he doing?” Mr Abdullah asked.

With agency inputs