PM Modi slams Omar Abdullah over separate ‘Kashmir PM’ remark

HYDERABAD: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday slammed National Conference leader Omar Abdullah for seeking a provision for the post of a separate Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and asked other constituents of the ‘mahagathbandan’, like the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, NCP and TDP, to spell out their stand on their ally’s demand.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and NC leader Omar Abdullah on Monday said he will work to restore the titles ‘Wazir-e-Azam’ (Prime Minister) and ‘Sadr-e-Riyasat’ (head of state) in the state, triggering an angry reaction from the Prime Minister.

Addressing an election rally at the L.B. Stadium here, Modi said Abdullah and his National Conference wanted to “turn the clock back by creating a pre-1953 situation” but it was not acceptable to the BJP.

Till 1965, the Head of State of Jammu and Kashmir used to be called ‘Sadr-e-Riyasat’ (meaning President) while the elected Head of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir would be called ‘Wazir-e-Azam’ (meaning Prime Minister). These nomenclatures were then abolished and replaced with the Governor and the Chief Minister, respectively.

“An ally of the Congress party, a very strong member of the ‘mahagathbandhan’, the National Conference has given a statement in which they have said that there should be a separate Prime Minister for Kashmir,” Modi said, referring to the remarks made by Omar Abdullah earlier in the day that he would like to restore the posts of “President” and “Prime Minister” for the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

“They (NC) say that they will take Kashmir back in time and create a scenario wherein there will be two Prime Ministers in India — one for (Jammu and) Kashmir and one for rest of the country. The Congress party will have to answer as to how its ally has dared to say such a thing,” Modi said.

He also asked West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu to spell out their stand on the issue.

Referring to Mamata, he said, “Bangal ki Didi should make her stand clear…. Sharad Pawar has been the Defence Minister of the country and former Chief Minister of Maharashtra. I also want to ask him about his stand… I also want to know what is the stand of ‘U-turn Babu’ (Chandrababu Naidu).”

He also added, “You should not forget that a few days ago, a leader of the National Conference had resorted to sloganeering in favour of Pakistan.”

Asserting that the “politics of dividing the nation” has already caused a lot of damage to the country, the Prime Minister said, “We are ready to sacrifice our lives for the people of Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, but we will not tolerate such wheelers and dealers of Kashmir.

The Prime Minister also targeted the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and its ally Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM). He said the focus of the TRS government was not on development but on the growth of vote bank and the Chief Minister’s family.

In an obvious reference to TRS’ election symbol “car”, he said KCR may be sitting in the car but the steering was in the hands of MIM.

Referring to the Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency, a stronghold of the MIM, Modi said there was no development on the other side of the Musi river.

He said the government of India wanted to develop infrastructure and extend the metro to the old city.

“But there is a big speed-breaker called Majlis. They don’t understand the language of development. Day in and day out, they remember only Modi. This ‘chowkidar’ is giving them sleepless nights,” he said.

Modi also said that the steps taken by his government to protect the sisters and daughters of the country from “repressive mentality” have angered his opponents. He recalled the criticism he had to face for brining a bill in the Parliament to ban the repressive tradition of triple talaq.

“I am appealing to the victims and those sisters and daughters scared of triple talaq to support us. We guarantee your protection,” he said.

With agencies inputs