PAGD stronger after DDC results: Farooq Abdullah

National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah on Thursday said that the six-party People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) had emerged as a “much stronger amalgam” after win in the District

Development Council polls. Addressing a press conference after chairing a PAGD meeting at his Gupkar residence, Dr Abdullah, who is also PAGD president, reaffirmed that the alliance constituents will “stay united” in days to come.

“Our faith in each other is much stronger than it was earlier. The Gupkar Alliance stands together and there is no doubt about that. We are united and will continue to be united,” Abdullah said.

Abdullah chaired a two-hour long meeting of the PAGD which was also attended by NC vice-president Omar Abdullah apart from other leaders.

Dr Farooq urged the government for immediate restoration of 4G internet services in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We would request the government that 4G should be restored immediately. It is unfortunate that people of this state, including students and business people are suffering, because now-a-days every work happens online,” Dr Abdullah said. “I requested the Lieutenant Governor the other day that 4G should be restored at a time when the Prime Minister is talking about 5G,” Dr Abdullah said.

The NC president said people under “illegal detention” must be released. “All these people must be released if you want democracy to survive,” Dr Abdullah said.

He said administration should ensure proper water and power supply to people during winters.

“We are hopeful that people don’t face any inconvenience during the winters. I hope there is enough electricity and water for people,” Dr Abdullah said.

PAGD spokesman and People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone while addressing the media persons said the alliance meeting held a day after the DDC poll results was to “make an assessment.”

“We also met and expressed gratitude to the people of J&K and to those people who voted. We expressed gratitude to those who came out in large numbers and reposed faith in democracy to strengthen it,” Lone said.

Lone said people in J&K had “reposed faith in democracy of this country even after so many upheavals.”

“The onus lies on the administration to reciprocate that respect and faith in democracy. There are some disturbing reports coming about interference in people’s verdict wherein government of the day is acting in a partisan manner and being a participant by directly, indirectly facilitating moves by some people to attract independents (winners in DDC polls) towards them. They should desist from humiliating this great verdict of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Lone said. “History is replete with examples that those who try to humiliate the verdicts of people, they end up with a disaster. We need to respect this verdict and under no circumstances should democracy be tinkered with and interfered with, that is totally unacceptable,” Lone said.

Lone said it was ironic that despite a “successful and peaceful election,” the administration has “illegally detained” several people.

“The other new trend is preventive detentions. What is the logic in doing this as the election has ended. It has been one of the most peaceful elections in the last three decades. The most non-violent and peaceful election. That it ends with preventive detentions is totally antithetical to the way elections were held in terms of peace,” Lone said.

The PAGD swept the maiden District Development Council (DDC) polls by winning 110 seats, while the BJP emerged as the single largest party by getting 75 seats after securing the largest vote share in Jammu and Kashmir.