Ghulam Nabi Azad’s ‘Tourist’ Jibe At Omar Abdullah

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Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) president Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday alleged that former chief minister Omar Abdullah comes to the valley only as a “tourist,” while he spends summers in London and winters in warmer climates abroad.

Mr Azad made the sally as he hit the campaign trail in Doda as a star campaigner, canvassing for party candidate and former minister G M Saroori.

The campaigning in Udhampur-Kathua Lok Sabha constituency has become intense with the exchange of personal attacks by rival politicians.

Congress’s Lal Singh is pitted against Union minister and BJP candidate Jitendra Singh in the Udhampur-Kathua parliamentary constituency, which goes to polls in the first phase of the Lok Sabha election on April 19.

DPAP’s G M Saroori is among 10 others in the fray.

“Omar sahib … You visit your maternal grandfather’s house during summers in London and some hot country during winters and you come here as a tourist,” Mr Azad took a dig at the National Conference vice president in his speech.

Omar Abdullah is also on a campaign trail in Doda district canvassing for Choudhary Lal Singh of Congress, in capacity as a partner in the INDIA bloc.

Lal Singh is contesting for the fourth time from Udhampur Lok Sabha seat.

Mr Azad alleged that Mr Omar used to visit Chenab Valley for five minutes and hasn’t come to the area even once in the last several years.

“Have you seen his face in Doda, Bhaderwah or Kishtwar during his tenure as CM? Has he been here for the last 10 years?” Mr Azad said, addressing the public.

He also questioned the whereabouts of “political tourists” during the region’s years of hardship and criticised the parties for their silence on issues like land eviction order and the abolition of Article 370.

He accused the NC of tacitly supporting the BJP’s agenda for its own interests, over the welfare of the people.

“Where were these political tourists in Chenab Valley during these ten years of people’s suffering? Did they raise their voices against land eviction or Article 370 in Parliament?

“They seem to be aiding the BJP in every action. Their leaders are too busy appeasing the BJP, just check their statements. They are the ones who declared their doors open for NDA, not me. So who’s the BJP’s A team? It’s NC,” Mr Azad said.

The former Congress leader said that despite such restrictions as the Public Safety Act, Omar Abdullah and “his cohorts” have continued to live luxuriously.

Mr Azad, who is also a former J-K chief minister, said that unlike some, he does not indulge in leisurely vacations and is committed to the alleviation of the suffering of the people.

Mr Azad questioned the Congress party’s stance on Article 370 and said he always advocated for Article 370 and 35A, as well as the restoration of statehood of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said that instead of confronting the BJP, the Congress seems to focus on targeting his party.

“Congress is silent on Article 370, they didn’t even speak when I was in Congress. Only I know how I managed to speak on Article 370 in parliament,” he said. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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