"Do you want to see the country divided on the basis of religion?

New Delhi:

Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday stressed on the need for regional parties to come together in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, saying it was necessary to save the country from being divided on the basis of religion. Abdullah, who is also the National Conference president, condemned films like "Kashmir Files" and "The Kerala Story", saying they were destroying India and its Constitution by dividing people. Speaking to reporters after meeting former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda at his residence, he said India's diversity should be protected.

Responding to a question on the need for a third front, Abdullah said, "My message to everyone is that there is unity in diversity in India. We have to protect diversity. When asked if it is necessary for regional parties to come together to take on the BJP in the 2024 elections, he said, "The question is not of the BJP, but of the country. Do you want to see the country divided on the basis of religion or do you want the country to be united? It is a diverse country."

Clarifying his point, he said he has no similarities with Karnataka nor does Deve Gowda have any similarity with Kashmir, but what keeps him together is nation building. "What binds us together? It is a desire to work together, build this nation and move forward together. And that's what's important."

When asked about Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar calling a meeting of opposition parties in Patna by opposition parties, the National Conference leader said these meetings were important as it would unite the opposition for the 2024 elections. When told that Deve Gowda's Janata Dal Secular (JDS) was not invited for the meeting, he said he hoped gradually all parties would come together, "whatever they may be".

Asked about elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Abdullah said, "Elections should be held in every state in this country. Why should we be denied elections? Four years have passed. It's a long time. The Election Commission itself has said that elections should be held."

"Farooq Abdullah cannot reveal everything to the media," he said in a tweet after the meeting. He wanted to know about my health. I am grateful to them. We discussed the happenings in the country, especially in Kashmir," he said.

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