Opposition front to take ‘greater shape’ before 2019 polls, says Omar Abdullah

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Kolkata, July 28 (IANS) Former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday said the proposed Federal Front will take a “greater shape” before the 2019 general elections and no effort for opposition unity will succeed unless the Congress is able to take the fight to the BJP.

“We were discussing how best the regional parties can come together to take on the 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,” the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference leader said on the sidelines of an event — Think Federal Conclave.

Abdullah, who met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday, said this is “an ongoing conversation”.

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“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 by (former Congress President) 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.

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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 in 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.

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–IANS

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