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Mian Altaf Ahmad is not an outsider: Omar Abdullah

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NewsDrum Desk
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Pahalgam (JK), Apr 2 (PTI) National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Tuesday scoffed at suggestions that party candidate for Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat Mian Altaf Ahmad was an "outsider" to the constituency, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi hails from Gujarat but contests elections from Uttar Pradesh.

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"How is Mian Sahib an outsider? He is as much from Rajouri-Poonch as much as he is from here (Anantnag) or elsewhere in Kashmir. If PM Modi can come from Gujarat and contest in Uttar Pradesh, your channels have no problems with that," Abdullah said.

"Leaders from south India go to the Rajya Sabha from north India seats, you have no issues with that. Mian Sahib contests from within Kashmir valley and you start raising questions. Does he not have the right to contest from the Rajouri-Poonch Anantnag seat?" he asked.

The former chief minister was talking to reporters after a party rally at Liver-Pahalgam in this south Kashmir Lok Sabha constituency.

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Abdullah also hit out at the media for making efforts to create a wedge between his party and the PDP, which are partners in the opposition INDIA bloc.

"Why are you making the PDP fight us? Has the PDP said anywhere that they will contest elections? It is you people who are fuelling this. I heard the speech of Mehboba Mufti in Delhi, she said Farooq sahib and we are together and we will not break the INDIA alliance. Why are you trying to make us fight? " he asked.

Asked if the National Conference (NC) was contesting all three seats in Kashmir due to pressure from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Abdullah said that the decision was taken on the basis of having won the previous elections.

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"For DDC polls, we took the 2014 assembly election results and wherever PDP had won, they contested the DDC polls and wherever NC had won, we got the opportunity. PC was also with us then and they chose their candidate where they had won. We used the same formula here as well. Where does the ED come in this?" he asked.

On the electoral bonds issue, Abdullah said that he has not revealed any secret.

"I have not said anything that was hidden. All this information is in public domain after the Supreme Court order. If the media persons do not question the government, then it becomes our responsibility," Abdullah said.

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"We are asking a direct question. The companies constructing projects here be it Ratle or Zojila tunnel for what purpose did they pay the electoral bonds," he added.

On Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's arrest, Abdullah said that the world has taken notice of it.

"Not only us but the powerful countries of the world have taken note of how the opposition leaders are being singled out for targeting. Kejriwal is the second CM who has been arrested," he said.

Abdullah said that arresting sitting chief ministers is a "very dangerous situation for democracy" and the country "will have to pay a price for it for a long time".

"We hope that the SC and EC will not ignore it and stop the use of investigation agencies during elections," he added. PTI MIJ AS AS

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