Jammu, Dec 3 (PTI) National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Sunday said there was very little for the people of Jammu and Kashmir to rejoice over the victory of other parties in elections held in other states.
The former chief minister of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state made the remarks on a day the BJP won assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh while the Congress wrested power away from the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) in Telangana.
"There was very little for the people to rejoice over the victory of others in the elections held across various states in the country because it has been years now since the locals have seen elections in Jammu and Kashmir," Omar said in his address to the party's zonal workers during its one-day convention at Tikri in Udhampur district.
He said, "We can only see the spectacle in other states but cannot have it here. Democracy ends where Jammu and Kashmir begins."
Taking a swipe at the central government, the National Conference vice-president said people who blow the trumpet of democracy across the world do not allow it to come to Jammu and Kashmir.
"They have shown that they not just hate the idea of assembly but panchayats and urban local bodies as well. It's no wonder that they might wind up district development councils as well," Abdullah said.
"What is the fault of the people of Jammu and Kashmir that they are being deprived of their democratic right and are not even being given the opportunity to elect their assembly (members)?" he asked.
On the contrary, he alleged that "crownless kings" have been imposed upon the people of Jammu and Kashmir who take decisions related to the Union Territory but do not involve the people in those.
Criticising the central government and BJP leaders for "misleading the country" on Article 370, Abdullah said, "These people give speeches every day enumerating the negatives related to Article 370 but if I may ask them what exactly did its revocation change for the people of Jammu and Kashmir?"
"What benefits did our people reap from its revocation? Contrarily, it was Article 370 that gave land rights to our people. It was the very same provision that made the right to free education up to the university level possible in Jammu and Kashmir. Our people, particularly the landless, poor and the workers -- irrespective of their religious and regional affiliations -- reaped the benefits of Article 370 while its abrogation has not yielded any benefit. People are only suffering," he added.