Horse-trading not new to politics, BJP repeating Congress’ mistakes: Omar Abdullah

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SRINAGAR: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Thursday said horse-trading is not new in Indian politics and the Congress’ mistakes while in power at the Centre is being repeated by the BJP.

“This is nothing new. Misuse of Rajbhawan, turncoats, horsetrading of MLAs. Were we not victims of this in 1984? The mistakes made by Congress are being repeated by the BJP. This has been going on for years now,” Omar told reporters here.

The former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir was reacting to a question on the rebellion in Shiv Sena that is threatening to end the three-year-old Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government headed by Uddhav Thackeray in Maharashtra.

Asked if Shiv Sena was being dealt a row hand, Omar said it was not for him to comment.

“Who am I to judge? Shiv Sena can say whether what is happening is right or wrong. If 35 MLAs are willing to leave the party, the Shiv Sena will have to think why it has happened and if there is a remedy to it or not,” he said.

The National Conference vice president also dismissed suggestions that the protests against the Centre’s Agnipath defence recruitment scheme, were sponsored.

“There can’t be a sponsored protest on such a large scale. There might perhaps have been an attempt to take advantage by some people but their numbers are very less. The maximum number of protestors were those who felt that this scheme does not benefit them and on the contrary is detrimental to them,” he said.

Omar said the protests mainly took place in areas and regions where recruitment in the armed forces had been high.

“If you see, the protests took place mainly in those areas where army recruitment has been high. They are not happy with the scheme and they feel their future has been endangered. They want a change in this scheme,” he added.

Protests had erupted in various parts of the country after the Centre unveiled the Agnipath scheme last Tuesday to recruit youngsters aged between 17-and-a-half and 21 years in the army, navy and air force, largely on a four-year contractual basis. It later relaxed the upper age limit for this year’s recruitment to 23.

On local politics, Omar said the people of Jammu and Kashmir should be given a chance to elect a government that can listen to them.

“How many people can one LG and his three advisors listen to? ” he asked.

Hitting out at critics of the People’s Alliance foe Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), Omar said this was not unusual.

“If PAGD constituents are wrong, why did they join in the first place. And why did they leave? They are not explaining it to the people,” he said.

Omar said the decision should be left to the people.

“If they (critics of PAGD) have clout with Delhi, let them get the elections conducted. Whatever people decide, we will accept it,” he added. (PTI)