Television

NDTV exclusive with Farooq Abdullah

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MUMBAI: In an exclusive interview on NDTV's One on One, Farooq Abdullah talks to Vir Sanghvi about his desire to be the next President of India, about how he was betrayed by A.B. Vajpayee and the NDA government, about the complex relationship between the Abdullahs and the Nehru-Gandhi family, about his conviction that the Pakistan government is actively involved in terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, and about his reputation as a ladies man.

Watch Vir Sanghvi host ?One on One? with the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah, on Saturday, December 2, 2006, at 9.30 pm on NDTV 24X7.

Farooq Abdullah says he would like to be President when the post falls vacant. However, he says he will not lobby for the post or `run after it', but if it was offered to him then he would `love it'. He says that he was offered the post by A.B. Vajpayee the last time around and believed that he would be the NDA's candidate for President. But not only did this not happen, nobody told him that he would not be the candidate. He only discovered this, he said, "When the nomination of the other person was filed. That is when I found out that I was not there."

It was because he believed that he would be the next President, he says, that he did not campaign fully in the last assembly elections in Kashmir. "If I had canvassed in the election, then my party would have won," he declared. Instead, he explained, he went off to South Africa at a crucial time in the campaign.

Should he be President of India now, Dr Abdullah said, "I would like to speak my mind to the government of the day." He claimed that there were many issues that even Dr Abdul Kalam was not able to express a view on. When asked what these issues were, he declined to explain.

Asked about his own reputation as a man who is incapable of concentration, Farooq Abdullah denied that he had `an attention span of 30 seconds' or 'ants in his pants'. In his defence, he argued, "If that was true, I would not have lasted so long."

About the perception that he is a ladies man, Dr Abdullah was categorical. "I am not a gay person. I am not a homosexual," he said. "I do not do anything under the carpet because God sees everything you do."

Speaking about how Pakistan is playing host and fuelling terrorist activities, Mr Abdullah said, ?I think we would be making our own weapons, we would be having all those grenades, and there would be an advanced state in the country. Unfortunately we are not that advanced to make all these weapons. They are coming across the border. The training camps they have there and have had in the past in many parts of Pakistan. Many of them are still active. In Pakistan, no movement can take place unless the Government allows them. Camps are there, people are trained there. And unless, literally, you come to some sort of a settlement with Pakistan, don't be under any illusion that you are going to get peace in Kashmir or in the rest of the country.?

Asked whom he would blame for the Kashmir fiasco, Farooq Abdullah said, "Oh, I would blame a number of them. There's Jagmohan, who was the prime mover of the things. He killed people...He ordered the crackdown on the people there. And I'm sure he's the one who is responsible for supplying trucks when the Hindus were moved. He may deny it."

 

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