From Right to Land and Jobs for Locals : Ghulam Nabi Azad spells out the agenda of his yet to be named political party

Holds first rally in Jammu. Says people of J&K will decide the name and flag of my party
The exhaustive agenda of his prospective party also prominently focussed on the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits.
The exhaustive agenda of his prospective party also prominently focussed on the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits.Mir Imran for Greater Kashmir

Jammu: Former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday declared that restoration of full statehood (to J&K), right to land and employment to native domiciles would be three major agenda planks which would form the edifice of his yet to be announced political outfit.

Belying all speculations, he refrained from floating his political outfit in his much-hyped maiden public rally aimed at “Better J&K” after resigning from the Congress yet he used the occasion to spell out its (party’s) agenda in advance here this afternoon at Sainik Farms.

The exhaustive agenda of his prospective party also prominently focussed on the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits; measures to stop spree of unfortunate selective killings in Kashmir; addressing issues and complaints of human rights violation in J&K, particularly those emanating from Kashmir and ensuring honour, dignity, respect and integrity of all citizens of state along with confidence building measures.

“But to make it happen, we need the support of all, standing together in unison. We all need to stay united by dismantling artificial sandy walls of hatred. Come and support us towards the path of progress and prosperity to ensure a better, developed and peaceful J&K,” the former Chief Minister made a clarion call to all citizens of J&K.

While spelling out his agenda, he cautiously tread the path as he said, “Restoration of full statehood with an assembly with a Governor and not a Lieutenant Governor and with the power to enact laws, right to land and employment to native domiciles would form our three priority agenda. If the jobs are given to outsiders, J&K youth will lose even a trickle of employment avenues available here. Kudos to late Maharaja Hari Singh, who provided us with these safeguards in 1925-30! Moreover, it is not unconstitutional as after accord, these provisions were ensured by the Indian Constitution and J&K constitution and followed by all the Presidents, Prime Ministers of the country, irrespective of the party affiliations for over seven decades. While talking about KPs rehabilitation plan, he exhaustively recalled the steps taken by him in this connection, both as the Chief Minister and also as the Union Minister.

In this context, he mentioned construction of Jagti township and other accommodations constructed to house 20,000 KPs. “It really pains me that the process to give 6000 jobs under the PM’s Special Package sanctioned by the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has still not been completed. I myself had advertised 3000 posts,” he took a dig at the present ruling dispensation.

Azad mentioned that to tackle unemployment, J&K had resources in the form of tourism potential in Bangus valley, equivalent to hundreds of Gulmarg, Tosa Maidan, virgin and untapped tourist places in Anantnag, Udhampur, Kathua, Gool-Gulabgarh etc.

He cited affordable housing; strengthened health infrastructure, development of sports infrastructure, IT parks, revival of sick units, setting up industrial units as other identified priority areas of his party’s agenda.

“Our major thrust will be an equitable development of J&K,” he said.

Rejecting the names being floated by many people as his new political formation, the former Chief Minister stated that no decision was taken so far about it (party’s name) or its flag.

“The people from both the regions of Jammu and Kashmir will collectively decide the name of the party and its flag. I will not issue a command spelling out the name (of party) or taking a call on the flag, while sitting in Delhi. These would come into being only after thorough consultations with the people and leaders here in J&K,” he announced

While he made an oblique dig at the present leadership of his previous party (Congress), he invoked the first Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru.

“My party’s name will be in “Hindustani” – a language of the common man in India, which was described as a reflection of “Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb” by the first Prime Minister Pandit Nehru and preferred as a language after independence. Drawing inspiration from that, my party’s name would neither imbue Maulana’s Urdu nor Pandit’s Sanskrit. It will be your party – a common man’s party. With its name, every person, irrespective of his or her religion, will be able to identify,” he said.

Earlier, Azad was accorded a rousing reception on his arrival at Jammu airport by his trusted lieutenants joined by their supporters amid drum beats and slogans in his praise.

Majority of former ministers and legislators, BCC and DCC leaders hailing from Kashmir and Jammu regions, who resigned in his support, were present there in the rally.

Among those who shared the dais with him also included former Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, former ministers Jugal Kishrore Sharma, Taj Mohiuddin, Peerzada Mohd Sayeed, G M Saroori, Abdul Majeed Wani, Dr Manohar Lal Sharma, ex-legislators Naresh Gupta, Shoaib Nabi Lone, Mohd Amin Bhat, Haji Abdul Rashid and Syed Bashir.

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