Congress must take the fight to the BJP: Omar Abdullah



Underscoring the importance of the Congress in defeating the BJP in next year's general elections, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday said no effort for opposition unity will succeed unless the Congress is able to take the fight to the BJP.

Abdullah, who was speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of a seminar, also mentioned the efforts by former Congress President Sonia Gandhi to bring various opposition parties together.

He said the proposed Federal Front will take a "greater shape" before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Abdullah's comments came a day after he met West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who has been the chief proponent of a Federal Front comprising regional parties. 

"We were discussing how best the regional parties can come together to take on Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the forthcoming general elections. Obviously, no effort towards opposition unity will really succeed unless the Congress is also able to take the fight to the BJP the way we hope," said the National Conference leader after addressing "Think Federal Conclave".

"It (forming a Federal Front) is an ongoing process and as we get closer to general elections of 2019, I am sure it will take greater shape," he said. "You have seen a number of efforts were made particularly by Sonia Gandhi to bring opposition parties together."

Abdullah pointed at the presence of opposition leaders at the swearing-in of Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and said more such attempts would be made in other states as well.

Speaking on Jammu & Kashmir, he reiterated his party's demand that the assembly be dissolved and efforts made to improve the overall situation in the state.

The state is currently under Governor's rule after Chief Minister and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti resigned following the BJP quitting her government and walking out of the alliance.

According to Abdullah, the situation should be like what it was there in 2014, when the assembly election was conducted in November-December.

"Discussion for conducting the elections can be started after improvement in the situation. Under the prevailing situation, there is no scope for discussion on the elections," he said.

Asked whether the India-Pakistan relationship will improve with a new government coming to power in the neighbouring country, he said let the new government be formed first.

"Let Imran Khan form the government. He has never been in power before.

"There is a need to see what kind of relationship Islamabad wants with India and what is their approach regarding terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack," Abdullah said.- IANS