PDP hits out at Omar Abdullah over cross-voting

April 16th, 2011 - 6:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Jammu, April 16 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir’s opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Saturday hit out at Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, and said he owes an explanation to the people as to how cross-voting took place in the legislative council elections.

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti contested Omar Abdullah’s claim that the ruling coalition had nothing to do with the episode of seven of the 11 Bharatiya Janata Party legislators voting for candidates of the ruling National Conference-Congress combine in the election Wednesday. The “onus in on Omar to establish his innocence,” she said.

“How could anyone other than the parties involved in the shady deal be privy to it?” she asked.

Abdullah, talking to media persons here on the sidelines of a function Saturday, said the coalition had not indulged in any unfair practices, and also attributed the alleged “cash-for-votes” controversy to the media.

Slamming the chief minister’s response, Mehbooba Mufti said: “His challenge to the media to prove the case of cash-for-votes in the council elections is more ‘filmi’ than political.”

The chief minister as head of the coalition that benefited from cross-voting needed to come clean on the scandal, she said.

“If the extra votes polled by the coalition candidates were not purchased, then the question becomes even more serious,” she said, wondering whether it was “revival of old friendship” - a reference to the period when the National Conference was partner of the BJP in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Mehbooba said the chief minister was “insulting the intelligence of the people if he thought he would be taken for his word on the issue”.

“How is it possible that the BJP votes are shared in a way that both coalition candidates get 30 each, unless there was a proper floor management and understanding between the parties? she asked.

“And that understanding doesn’t come free or without an understanding,” she alleged.

Claiming that the present coalition’s functioning had always been “disastrous for the state”, Mehbooba said the council elections threw up questions of greater importance than mere winning or losing a seat.

“It could shake the foundations of multi-party democracy in a state that has still to go a long way in establishing the credentials of democratic institutions and for which the people are engaged in a serious and long struggle.”

“If the NC-led coalition could throw to winds all political morality and propriety for a mere council seat, how would it be behave when it came to safeguarding the interests of the state,” she asked.

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