Hold simultaneous assembly, Lok Sabha polls in J&K: Altaf Bukhari

Bishnah, Feb 11: Apni Party president Syed Muhammed Altaf Bukhari Sunday urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) to hold Legislative Assembly (LA) and the parliamentary polls together in Jammu and Kashmir and exuded the confidence that his party would form government after (LA) elections.

He stated this, while addressing a one-day workers’ meeting at Bishnah. The meeting was organized by Apni Party leader Ashwani Kumar.

   

“The Government of India says we shall hold Legislative Assembly elections as well as parliamentary elections together. Then they constituted a committee, but declined later, citing various reasons for elections in other states of the country,” Bukhari said.

Making a comment, he demanded holding of Legislative Assembly as well as parliamentary elections together in J&K because the people would get an elected government after five years of gap.

“The Supreme Court has also directed the government to hold elections before September, 2024 in J&K, but I suspect, they will not do so in the erstwhile state,” he raised suspicion while referring to the alleged “influence of UP and Punjab based liquor and mining mafia or contractors on the authorities.”

He said, “Five years have passed and Jammu and Kashmir is without an elected government. Up to 2018, the last elected government was formed by the BJP in alliance with PDP. The BJP had contested assembly elections of 2014 against National Conference and PDP and then it formed the government with the PDP.” He asked the people if they saw any kind of development or employment in Bishnah or any other part of Jammu.

Bukhari questioned the alleged “involvement of non-local mafia in mining and liquor that snatched the jobs, trade and spiked the prices of the construction material.”

“The contractors from Uttar Pradesh and Punjab exploit the resources and local labourers whereas a number of liquor shops have been opened in every nook and corner of Jammu. If this is the ‘Naya Jammu and Kashmir’, then we do not want such a situation, where rights of J&K are denied,” he added.

“The atmosphere changed in Jammu and Kashmir the day when special status was snatched from the people of the erstwhile state. The people were unaware across the country about the plight of the people living along the border with Pakistan in J&K. However, no one recalls the supreme sacrifices made by the civilian population living on the border in Jammu as well as in Kashmir,” he said.

“The people of Jammu and Kashmir did not get any kind of benefit in the last 70 years, but the benefits were grabbed by the two families in place of the masses. However, now the time has come, when the people should be given constitutional rights of the people in J&K,” Bukhari stated.

He further said, “The people of J&K will fight for their jobs in a democratic manner. We are a peace-loving nationalist people who never resort to any kind of violent means.”

Bukhari, however, congratulated the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister, Amit Shah for granting reservation to a tribe of J&K (reference to Paharis).

He also extended support to those who had certain reservations about the reservation that was granted to another tribe and assured them to take up their cause if discrimination was meted out to them.

“Those, who have objection to the reservation, shall not worry about their issues because the Apni Party is there to support them. We will never allow discrimination with anyone,” he added, while seeking response from the government regarding issues of Dogra speaking belt in Jammu region.

“If the reservation can be granted to a tribe to address its long pending demands,” he said, questioning, “then why the concerns and demands of Jammu Dogras, Kashmiri speaking, and other communities cannot be addressed by holding assembly elections and restoring the statehood to Jammu and Kashmir.”

Highlighting concerns of unemployed youth, he demanded five years’ extension in upper age limits to the aspirants of central government jobs, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in favour of the youth from Jammu and Kashmir.

“The situation in Jammu and Kashmir has yet to improve to a level that the youth can compete with other states of the country. The borders in Jammu region as well as Kashmir still face burnt of shelling from adversaries and therefore, the studies and exams of the students get often disturbed,” he reminded the Government of India, while urging it to consider the demand to extend the upper age limit for the central job aspirants from J&K.

Bukhari again highlighted the concern that the unscheduled power cuts across both the regions had further added problems for the students. To overcome the power crises in J&K, he said that the power projects should be returned to the erstwhile state after 35 years of its inception.

“They use our resources and generate electricity that is supplied outside J&K whereas the erstwhile state suffers without electricity,” he said.

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