As Udhampur-Doda seat readies to vote, Omar, Azad trade jibes

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Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) Chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad addresses a public rally in Banihal on April 16, 2024
| Photo Credit: ANI

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad traded barbs during campaigning for the Udhampur-Doda seat on Tuesday.

To a statement allegedly made by Democratic Progressive Azad Party’s (DPAP) chief Mr. Azad that the Abdullahs did not face militant attacks, Mr. Abdullah said, “I am disappointed and never expected Mr. Azad to stoop low to spreading blatant falsehoods for political gain and please the BJP. Our party has lost over 3,000 workers. Me and my father escaped multiple attacks. Do we need to count bodies to garner votes? Shameful.”

At present, Mr. Abdullah is in the Chenab Valley to canvas for Congress candidate Chaudhary Lal Singh. The Udhampur-Doda seat is going to polls on April 19. DPAP has also fielded a candidate from the seat. “I am helping the INDIA alliance. I would not have supported them to this extent had Ghulam Nabi Azad not supported the BJP,” Mr. Abdullah said.

To Mr. Abdullah’s remark that Mr. Azad reached the Rajya Sabha with the support of the Abdullahs, the DPAP chief said, “Let me remind him [Mr. Abdullah] of the pivotal role my MLAs played in his six-year tenure as Chief Minister. Mr. Abdullah’s lack of gratitude is indicative of his character.”

Mr. Azad said Mr. Abdullah “did no favours to him”. “When Dr. Abdullah left J&K due to militancy, it was my initiative that brought him back. At that time, the NC was in a precarious state. For how long will they bask in the legacy of Sheikh Abdullah? They couldn’t endure a day in jail like him,” he said.

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