Apni Party celebrates third foundation day, pledges to strive for J&K's statehood
Srinagar, March 8: Apni Party on Wednesday celebrated its 3rd foundation day anniversary in all the assembly constituencies across the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir.The party marked the occasion with a pledge that it will fulfill its commitments, which it made to the masses on the day of its inception —on March 8, 2020. These commitments include that the party will strive for the restoration of statehood to J&K, holding of immediate assembly elections, and women empowerment, a press statement said.
“Apni Party celebrated its foundation day across all the assembly constituencies —from Uri to Kathua — as it wanted to get connected with the masses through these celebrations. Also, the party wanted people’s input to know how to give a firm push to the party’s three-point agenda, which is the restoration of statehood, holding of assembly polls, and women empowerment —as this day is also being celebrated as ‘International women's day', " the statement said.
“The party was founded by Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari and his colleagues with an ambitious agenda at a time when J&K’s traditional leaders were under house arrest. At that time people desperately needed a leadership to stand by them and to take the lead and give them sympathy, emotional support, and encouragement. It was a time when the political vacuum was adding to the adversities of the people in both the regions —Kashmir Valley, and Jammu. Most horribly, it was a time when a conflict was brewing up between the communities, regions, and sub-regions of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Apni Party President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari while addressing a rally at Housing Colony in Sanat Nagar Srinagar, said, “After the foundation of Apni Party, the first challenge before us was to bring a ray of hope in the gloom because the hopelessness in any place always consumes its people with depression. Since the situation at that time was too critical to be ignored, we decided to stand with the people and devised our own strategic vision to ensure people could feel that someone is there to stand by them. It was a time when people were in ever-darkening gloom because the abrogation of Article 370 had inflicted helplessness and a state of despair on them.”
He added, “We shared the pain of the people, but a way had to be found to address their issues as well. Therefore, we decided not to choose confrontational politics. We knew confrontational politics would have not helped the people and also it would have deepened the political vacuum in J&K.”
Bukhari reiterated Apni Party’s demand for holding assembly elections immediately in J&K. He said, “Holding of assembly elections with any further delay, is also important for protecting the democratic credentials of our country. Holding assembly elections without any further delay is a constitutional obligation for the Centre Govt and Election Commission of India (ECI), thus, doing so will not be a risk but a reward for the Govt and ECI.”
He added, “The people of J&K lost their elected Govt on June 19, 2018. How can it be justified that elections are held in other states and UTs every five years and J&K is nearing five years without having an elected government? “
Apni Party President also recalled how the party got people out of fear of a demographic change in J&K, and losing jobs. He said, “In our first meeting with the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister post abrogation of Article 370, we made these leaders guarantee that no demographic change occurs in J&K and only J&K residents will have right on the jobs and agriculture land here. We cautioned the GoI that any tampering with the land laws or any attempt to scrap job opportunities of the local youth would be rife with serious consequences.”
He reiterated that when Apni Party gets a mandate to form a Government in J&K, it will change the scenario for good. He said, “Our Govt will reverse all the harsh laws and initiatives —property tax, anti-encroachment drive, and so on— that have been put into effect during the period of the LG administration.” He added, “We are committed to the people that when our Govt comes, it will enhance the marriage assistance for the women up to One Lakh rupees from the existing assistance of Rs 50,000; and widows pension from existing RS 1000 up to Rs 5000 each beneficiary. Also, we will provide 500 units of electricity free to the consumers of Valley in the winter and 300 units in the summers. While in Jammu, 500 units of electricity would be given free in summer and 300 units in winter. Also, we, if in government, will give 4 gas cylinders free to every household annually."