Farooq Abdullah repents not contesting 2002 polls


Srinagar : Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and National Conference (NC) patron Farooq Abdullah admitted here Thursday that his opting out of assembly elections in 2002 was a "mistake", which he would never repeat.

Support TwoCircles

"Not contesting elections in 2002 as a candidate was a mistake. I accept it. But, I won't repeat it in the next elections," Abdullah told reporters here at the party headquarters in uptown Srinagar.

The assembly elections in the state are due in 2008, and according to party sources both Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar will contest the polls.

Abdullah said a meeting of the NC working committee being held Friday would decide on NC's joining the recently formed third front, which was started in Chennai by the AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu.

The NC patron said he would attend the forthcoming meeting of the third front in Delhi.

Former state chief secretary Vijay Kumar Bakaya Thursday announced his decision to join the NC.

"We have set up an economic cell of the party which would prepare the party's economic agenda. The cell would be headed by Mr. Bakaya and Sheikh Ghulam Rasool (another former chief secretary who joined NC in 1996)," Abdullah said.

He demanded the decisions taken at the last Kashmir roundtable be implemented without any further delay. "If those decisions remain unimplemented, the holding of the roundtable conference would seem like an eye-wash."

The former chief minister said the pace of the ongoing India-Pakistan peace process had slowed but blamed the prevailing situation in Pakistan for it.

"The present conditions in Pakistan are responsible for this slowdown, but for the peace process to move forward, we need a strong India and a strong Pakistan," he added.

The NC president and MP Omar Abdullah wanted the rival People's Democratic Party (PDP) to clarify whether the party wanted demilitarisation or relocation of troops.

"The PDP calls for demilitarisation in Kashmir and relocation of troops outside the valley. They must state clearly what they actually want," Omar said.