Srinagar: National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah Tuesday denied there were political reasons for his current visit to Delhi and dismissed as “time pass for bored minds” speculation that the party was divided on key issues.
The former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister took to Twitter to refute suggestions that his visit was linked to reported moves for formation of an Advisory Council which may be headed by Altaf Bukhari, leader of the Centre-friendly Apni Party set up recently, Outlook reported.
His comments come in backdrop of perceived differences between two senior party leaders Tanvir Sadiq and Agha Ruhullah Mehdi over the events of August 5 last which saw virtual abrogation of Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Omar maintained that the NC remained committed to challenging, “using all lawful means”, what happened in August last year.
Views of neither Sadiq nor Mehdi, “expressed in a private capacity”, change the stand taken by party in the Supreme Court and outside regarding events of August 5, he said.
A newspaper article by Sadiq, the political secretary to Omar when he was the chief minister, on the political roadmap ahead skipped any reference to Article 370 which prompted Mehdi, party’s chief spokesman, to comment, “This provokes a question in my mind. What is a political process for you? Only an election? If we go with a reason and stand our course, even being detained is a part of political process.”
Omar, who arrived in Delhi on Monday for the first time since August 3 last year, said he was in the capital because “I needed a change of scene and some medical follow up”.
There was nothing political about the visit, said Omar, who was detained for nearly eight months from August 5.
Describing Sadiq and Mehdi as “valued colleagues and friends”, Omar said both were entitled “to an opinion and to disagree with each other”.
NC was a democratic party and “we value all shades of opinion within our wider family though sometimes it is better to discuss them amongst ourselves before we decide to make them public”, the NC leader said.
“I have burnt my hands a few times by not following my own advice,” Omar wrote.
In his article, Sadiq had called for the release of all political leaders including Mehbooba Mufti, Ali Muhammad Sagar and Shah Faesal, besides restoration of all means of communication. He had also called on the government to allow resumption of the political process.
A Twitter war broke out between Sadiq and Mehdi, a former cabinet minister and an influential Shia leader from Budgam following which he removed party chief spokesperson designation from his Twitter handle bio on Tuesday.
Mehdi, a three three-time legislator from Budgam assembly constituency of central Kashmir, said in a series of tweets that holding assembly elections in the Union territory should not be the only goal of mainstream politicians.
“Many of my colleagues are detained under PSA. Others including me are put under house detention. My heart goes out to them and I wish and pray for their immediate release. But, believe me their and our (house) detention is a political message and process itself,” Mehdi said.
Sadiq, in an apparent reference to the former minister’s criticism, said he does not need a certificate from anyone and it was easy to comment sitting with one’s family and occasionally tweeting to show how brave they are.