Restore Statehood before polls in J&K: Azad urges PM

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Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, on Sunday demanded restoration of Statehood before holding assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

Azad called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi where he took up several problems of J&K.

“There is no development under Lt. Governor Rule in Jammu and Kashmir even as one year has passed since the abrogation of special status,” Ghulam Nabi Azad told the Greater Kashmir quoting his interaction with the PM.

“Developmental activities take place only when there is an elected Government no matter of which political party. The elected representatives have responsibility towards the people because they have to go back to the people for their re-election. Hence, they perform in the Government to redress issues of the common masses which nowadays is missing because of LG Rule,” he said.

Azad said that today officers are running the J&K Government which is why the developmental activities have been stalled.

“You had promised to restore Statehood of Jammu and Kashmir on the floor of the House and you should fulfil it and then hold assembly elections,” Azad said he told the Prime Minister.

“I have conveyed to the Prime Minister that if they hold assembly elections before restoring Statehood, I do not think any of the political parties will participate in the polls under Union Territory status,” he said.

“No one will want to become Chief Minister or MLA in the Union Territory especially from the political parties which matter. Serious political parties may not be ready to contest elections in the UT because they have to report everything to the Lt Governor. They have nothing in hand. Therefore, holding elections is important for development but before the elections restoration of Statehood is very important,” he said.

“No one is happy with the Union Territory status in both the regions of Jammu and Kashmir and all of them want Statehood back.”

Azad said that even as many militants have been killed in Kashmir after the conversion of J&K into Union Territory, militancy has increased in the Valley.

“I have never seen in the last 30 years that if militancy increases, security cover and bullet proof vehicles are withdrawn from the people especially politicians facing threat to their lives from the militants,” Azad said.

“We used to provide proper security cover during our times.”

“In contrast, we have seen that with the increase in militancy, 50% security personnel and 100% vehicles have been withdrawn from the politicians, exposing their lives to risk,” Azad said.

He demanded security cover to politicians irrespective of their party affiliation.