Agency Srinagar: Former chief minister and National Conference Vice-President Omar Abdullah said on Wednesday Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was “tampered” with whenever his party remained away from power in the state. “The basic structure of the state was entirely obliterated by the opportunistic forces that got a field day because of our absence. From 1953-1974, 37 amendments were made to the state constitution, making a pale shadow of what it used to be before 1953,” Abdullah said at a party convention in Beerwah constituency of central Kashmir’s Budgam district. The former chief minister said the very identity of the state was “facing an onslaught from all sides” and the severity of the situation demanded a strong mandated government of his party that would put up a strong front for safeguarding the special status. Abdullah said coalition governments in J&K had proved “detrimental” to the state’s interests, saying the need of the hour was to have a strong nucleus to carry forward the agenda of peace, development and reconciliation. He said the National Conference was the only party with a clear road map to address internal and external dimensions of the state. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi insulted (then chief minister) late Mufti (Mohammad) Sayeed in an open public platform. This would’ve (been) impossible in a scenario if the PDP had the numbers to run the government on its own,” Abdullah said. He was referring to a rally here in November 2015 where Modi had said he did not need any advice from anyone on Kashmir after Sayeed had offered some suggestion on starting a dialogue with Pakistan. The NC vice-president said he had never seen such a thing happening in other states, where a sitting chief minister was “publicly humiliated”. “The primary reason for that was a fractured mandate, compounded with the fact that other alliance partners are always bound by the central whip of party, which severely affects the working and maneuverability of government.” Later, Omar visited many areas of the constituency amidst heavy snowfall. He made stopovers at various places where people apprised him about the issues concerning the constituency. He gave them a patient hearing and promised all possible help.
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