STATE TIMES NEWS
Jammu: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Sunday described the removal of NPP patron Bhim Singh from his post for attending a Gupkar alliance meeting as “unfortunate” and said the amalgam is ready to meet anyone, even BJP leaders.The National Panthers Party (NPP) on Saturday removed Singh, who is also its founder, from the post, saying “there is no place in the party for those who disrespect Jammu region’s sentiment”.Singh had attended the meeting of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) at the Bathindi residence of National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah here. The PAGD is an alliance of seven mainstream political parties of J&K, including the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), that are demanding restoration of special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.“It (sacking of NPP leader from his post) is unfortunate. We have never said that we will meet only those who accept our opinion,” Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister, told reporters at Kalakote in Rajouri district.“We were ready to meet everyone, even BJP leaders, although if they would have come, they would have said ‘we do not accept your slogan of restoration of Article 370 and Article 35 A. We would have listened to them as well,” he said.The Centre on August 5 last year had abrogated the special status of the erstwhile state and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.The NC leader said that “we have never said that we will meet like-minded people only.” “Singh, in fact, spoke differently and told us that he does not accept Article 35A and will only accept Article 370 if certain changes are made to it,” Omar Abdullah said. Omar Abdullah said he did not think there was a need to remove Singh from his post, but added that “it is the internal matter of the party (NPP)”.
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