JAMMU: After ending his long association with the National Conference (NC), the new entrant in the BJP, Devender Singh Rana, on Sunday said he will continue to respect former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah with whom he had worked for over two decades.

He termed the civilian killings in Kashmir a conspiracy hatched by Pakistan to harm communal harmony and said that India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, will defeat the nefarious designs of the neighboring country.

“I have worked with (NC president) Farooq Abdullah and (vice president) Omar Abdullah for the past nearly 23 years. I have respect for both of them and it will continue,” Rana told reporters at the BJP headquarters where he was accorded a warm welcome after joining the party in Delhi on Monday.

He was responding to a question about Omar Abdullah’s recent statement that Rana’s departure from the NC was more of a personal loss to him, rather than the party, as he had invested a lot in him.

Rana, the younger brother of Union minister Jitendra Singh, had taken over the post of provincial president of the NC in 2011 after relinquishing his office as political advisor to the then chief minister Omar Abdullah.

He, along with senior party colleague and former minister S S Slathia, joined the BJP in Delhi on Monday.

“Politics brought me at a stage where I had to change the direction and way,” he said.

In reply to a question about the recent targeted killings in the valley, the BJP leader said these are part of Pakistan’s conspiracy aimed at harming the communal harmony and brotherhood in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Terrorism has no place in civil society…Under the leadership of Modi and Shah, a befitting response will be given (to Pakistan). The people of Jammu and Kashmir will also stand united to defeat the designs of Pakistan and the forces who want to harm our brotherhood,” he said.

The BJP leader said Jammu and Kashmir is an example of brotherhood and “we will join hands to uphold it and defeat the inimical elements who are out to harm it. They will get the answer and will be finished here”.

Asked about his reaction to the ongoing operation in the forest areas of Poonch and Rajouri which left nine Army personnel dead in two separate encounters with terrorists over the past week, he said nobody has the right to speak on the security operations.

“Our Army and other forces are strong enough to give a befitting response to their adversaries. I am fully confident that our Army, which is known for its professionalism around the globe, will achieve all the success as it cannot be defeated by anyone,” he said.


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