Srinagar, Mar 24: Rejecting former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani's remarks that National Conference (NC) was not serious about autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir, former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said his party suffered defeat in the 2002 polls because of the issue.
''I am not filing any defamation suit against Mr Advani for his baseless revelations against me and my party as my court is the people of Jammu and Kashmir,'' Dr Abdullah announced. Admitting that the Centre rejected the autonomy resolution passed by the both houses--Legislative Council and Assembly he said it was then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Mr Advani who urged him not to quit the NDA, promising they will consider the report.
To the revelation made by Mr Advani in his autobiography ''My Country and My Life'', that NC did not press for autonomy resolution and instead remained part of the NDA, Dr Abdullah asserted it was totally ''baseless and untrue.'' ''Till date we have not surrendered the restoration of autonomy demand, ''he said and claimed it was because of this reason his party suffered a defeat in 2002 assembly elections.
Accusing Mr Advani of trying to implement one constitution, one flag, and one premier because the Jammu and Kashmir has a separate flag and constitution, the NC patron said the legal document in the shape of autonomy report was still before New Delhi. Dr Abdullah said it was not true that Mr Advani told me to remain silent on the issue or quit the NDA.
''Me and my party leaders would die rather than surrender the autonomy,'' he asserted adding he will not surrender the autonomy demand even if he had to die in jail.'' The former Deputy Prime Minister, in his autobiography, said Dr Abdullah did not press for implementation of the autonomy report on their advice.
The former Chief Minister said the centre rejected the report though the then Law Minister Arun Jaitly, Minister Nitish Kumar, and George Fernandes had urged the parliamentarians to study the document and not reject it summarily.
Since the BJP had their own agenda, the report was rejected, he said.
But immediately after the report was rejected, the NC decided to leave the NDA, he said and added due to death of his mother Begum Akbar Jehan died the decision was delayed.
Meanwhile Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani came Srinagar and offered condolences at my residence here where they urged me not to quit and promised they will consider the report, Dr Abdullah said.
He further said on this promise, K C Pant was appointed as convenor to examine the autonomy report.
Dr Abdulah said during his meeting with them in New Delhi, he was told that if autonomy was given to his party, what they would offer to the separatists.
''Give autonomy to separatists'', I told them, Dr Abdullah said.