Jammu, Aug 30: Ruling out alliance with the BJP in the run up to the next assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, former deputy chief minister Tara Chand on Tuesday said the Ghulam Nabi Azad-led party would try to bring secular parties on a single platform for restoration of the statehood and the rights under Article 370.
Chand, along with 64 prominent leaders including three former ministers and two legislators, resigned from the Congress in support of Azad, a former chief minister of J and K who is launching a national-level party from here soon. Azad, 73, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, resigned from the Congress on Friday.
"The new party led by Azad will try to bring secular-minded regional parties, from both Jammu and Kashmir regions, under a single platform. We will try to work out a strong front to provide good governance to the people, work for the restoration of statehood and the rights which were guaranteed under Article 370, Chand, an Azad loyalist, told reporters here.
The Centre had on August 5, 2019 revoked the special status under Article 370 to J-K and bifurcated it into Union territories.
"The issue of Article 370 is before the Supreme Court which will decide about it. However, when our government is formed, we will fight for the restoration of all the rights guaranteed under the Constitution provision, Chand said, expressing confidence that the Azad-led party will also form the government at the Centre by having alliance with regional parties in different states of the country.
Asked whether the party is also open to having an alliance with the BJP, he said, "There is no question of that. We were in a secular party (Congress) which we left. The party we are forming under the leadership of Azad will be a secular one and we will have an alliance only with secular parties and not with BJP."
He dismissed the allegations that they are the A, B or C team of the BJP and said Azad is a secular leader and we had nothing to do with the BJP. Azad had himself clarified it several times".
Defending the decision to resign from the Congress, Chand said they were forced to take such a decision as the party ignored them over the past several years and did not pay any heed to their protests by way of boycotting the meetings.
"The Congress failed to play the role of the opposition even as the BJP-led government miserably failed to live up to its promises of providing two crore jobs annually, check price-hike and ensure development across the country, including J-K. They are talking about projects which were either started by NC-Congress or Congress-PDP governments. The development work has virtually come to a halt in J-K and the unemployment among the youth has broken all records, he said.
Chand said they requested Azad to come out of the Congress as his two-and-a-half-year rule from 2005 to 2008 was a "golden era", which people remember and miss immensely.
"People of J-K need the services of an experienced politician and a stalwart like him. He accepted our demand and resigned from the Congress after all our attempts to improve the health of the party failed, he said.
Expressing confidence that more senior leaders will strengthen the hands of Azad in the coming days, he said leaders from various parties are also in touch with them and you will see more and more joinings in the coming weeks".
"People are not happy with the present dispensation, especially after it downgraded the erstwhile state and revoked Article 370 which guaranteed various safeguards to the people. We require youth and experienced people to pull out J-K from the present crisis, to generate employment opportunities and resolve people's issues, Chand said.