Former chief ministers of J&K, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, on Tuesday hit back at the union Home Minister Amit Shah for his “Gupkar gang going global” remarks.

“We are not a “gang” Amit Shah ji, we are a legitimate political alliance having fought & continuing to fight elections, much to your disappointment”, Omar Abdullah, who is vice-president of the National Conference, reacted in a series of tweets.

“I can understand the frustration behind this attack by the Hon’ble Home Minister. He had been briefed that the People’s Alliance was preparing to boycott elections. This would have allowed the BJP & newly formed King’s party a free run in J&K. We didn’t oblige them,” he said in another tweet.

Earlier Shah in a tweet said: “The Gupkar Gang is going global! They want foreign forces to intervene in Jammu and Kashmir. The Gupkar Gang also insults India’s Tricolour. Do Sonia Ji and Rahul Ji support such moves of the Gupkar Gang? They should make their stand crystal clear to the people of India”.

Omar further reacted; Only in J&K can leaders be detained & called anti-national for participating in elections & supporting the democratic process. The truth is all those who oppose the ideology of the BJP are labelled “corrupt & anti-national.”

Mehbooba Mufti, who is president of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while reacting to Shah’s remarks, tweeted: “Old habits die hard. Earlier BJPs narrative was that the tukde tukde gang threatened India’s sovereignty & they are now using ‘Gupkar Gang’ euphemism to project us as anti nationals. Irony died a million deaths since its BJP itself that violates the constitution day in & day out.”

Questioning the BJP’s criticism of the alliance partners of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), she said fighting elections in an alliance “is also anti-national now.” “BJP can stitch as many alliances in its hunger for power but somehow we are undermining national interest by putting up a united front.”
“The BJP’s stale tactic of dividing India by projecting themselves as saviours and political opponents as internal and imagined enemies is far too predictable now. Love jihad, tukde tukde & now Gupkar Gang dominates the political discourse instead discourse instead of like rising unemployment & inflation,” Mehbooba remarked.

Reacting to Shah’s remarks, several National Conference leaders in a statement said; “Seeing imminent drubbing in the ongoing DDC elections and having been snatched of the biggest propaganda tool, the leaders said the assertions made by the home minister were quite anticipated. Amit Shah has woken up late in the day to attack the PAGD because it seems that contesting elections in Jammu & Kashmir is a crime and is unconstitutional. The frustration on his part is quite understandable because the BJP and its newly constituted team B in J&K were quite certain that PAGD will boycott the elections and allow them a free run in J&K. They were in the process of launching a vicious campaign against us. However, we have taken a big propaganda tool away from them by participating in the elections and above all fighting them as an Alliance. This is what has sent him into tizzy,” they said.

“It was only in J&K that the people who participate in elections and support a democratic process are referred to as anti-nationals. In reality those who oppose the BJP are labeled as corrupt, and anti-nationals. It is perhaps for the first time in the post independence history of the country that people who are contesting elections and showing respect for the democratic process are treated with such disdain,” they added.