The National Conference on Tuesday claimed it will improve and surpass its 1996 tally of 57 seats in the upcoming assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir and form a “strong, stable and responsive” government.Also Read - Dissent Cannot be Termed Seditious, Says Supreme Court; Junks Plea Against Farooq Abdullah

National Conference (NC) provincial president Devender Singh Rana said the recent poll outcome in the seats the NC contested is “testimony of the public support”. Also Read - 'Can't Even Kiss My Wife', Says Farooq Abdullah, Laments The Pandemic

“Given the support of the people, NC will improve and surpass its 1996 tally of 39 assembly seats in Kashmir, 15 in Jammu and three in Ladakh region,” Rana told reporters at the party headquarters here. Also Read - Mehbooba Mufti Clears Her Party’s Agenda, Says PDP Wants J&K To Become Bridge of Peace Between India And Pakistan

He criticised the state BJP over its demand for revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution and “twisting statistics” with regard to the just-concluded parliamentary elections, saying this speaks of its fear and frustration in the wake of “imminent rejection by the people”.

Rana said the BJP leaders in their enthusiasm are forgetting that the NC did not contest the Lok Sabha election in Jammu and Ladakh.

The NC supported Congress candidates in Jammu and Udhampur constituencies, while it extended support to an Independent in Ladakh region. All the three seats were retained by the BJP, registering over 46 per cent vote share and an edge in 27 assembly seats.

“They have no reason to celebrate over the so-called edge in some constituencies,” he said.

Asked when he expects the assembly polls to be held in the state, he said “nobody has the answer to this question… I think the Election Commission also does not know. Only one or two persons in the country might be aware of it”.

He said the National Conference is ready for the polls.

Alleging that Jammu has suffered most during the BJP’s over three years of “misrule” in partnership with the PDP, he said the sagacious electorate has firmed up its resolve to teach the party a lesson by power of their votes for the “betrayal”.

“The fear of defeat has unnerved the BJP leadership, which is why they are indulging in name calling and mudslinging. Political naivety and immaturity are hugely discernible in the BJP’s discourse,” he alleged, adding “this does not augur well for the democratic polity”.

He said BJP leaders are claiming that Article 370 is “illegal” but “I want to tell them that nothing can be illegal in the Constitution of the country. Such type of ranting shows their absolute ignorance, lack of knowledge and understanding of the basics of the country”.

Rana asked the BJP not to mislead the people on Article 370 of the Constitution, saying it will stay there.