Jammu: Buoyant over rousing reception in old Jammu city, Apni Party president Syed Muhammad Altaf Bukhari on Saturday reiterated that his party, if elected to power, would ensure to “give representation to people of both the regions as per their wishes” and would not differentiate on the basis of caste, creed and religion.
“Apni Party wants to keep people of both the regions united,” he said, while also reiterating his promise to restore the practice of “Darbar Move within twenty-four hours” if his party formed the next government in J&K.
Overwhelmed by rousing reception by thousands of people from different segments of society in Jammu city, Bukhari was addressing one day workers convention at Shaheedi Chowk.
Earlier he was given an impressive welcome in a traditional manner by the people as well as the party leaders and workers near Jewel Chowk, Gumat Bazaar, Vivekanand Chowk, Raghunath Bazaar Chowk, Residency Road, and Shaheedi Chowk when he was on his way with large number of Apni Party leaders and workers towards Shaheedi Chowk to address workers convention.
Size of the crowd was stimulating both at the convention venue and on the way, at different places in old Jammu city. Observers maintained that the Party, formed just a couple of years ago, was able to pull a good crowd and that too at a place, which was not a stronghold of the party leadership, was a remarkable achievement and encouraging signs for it (party).
The convention was attended by Apni Party senior vice president Ghulam Hassan Mir, vice president Choudhary Zulfikar Ali, former minister and chairman, Parliamentary Affairs Committee Dilawar Mir, provincial president Jammu Manjit Singh, spokesperson and senior advocate Nirmal Kotwal, additional general secretary Arun Kumar Chibber, president Apni Trade Union Ajaz Kazmi, ST wing J&K president Saleem Alam, provincial secretary and district president Jammu Urban, Dr Rohit Gupta, Trade Union provincial president Jammu Raj Sharma besides others.
In his address, Bukhari also thanked the people for the rousing reception to him and in the same breath used the occasion to target BJP, which considers Jammu city as its stronghold.
“I want to thank everyone for our warm welcome in this historic city. When I was coming towards Residency Road, I remembered the days when it was the heart of Jammu. However, they have broken it into pieces. We have seen this Residency Road in our childhood. But this government has worsened its condition which is very unfortunate. Unfortunately they claim that they represent the aspirations of Jammu and its people. It does not seem they represent Jammu in true sense if you go out and see the condition of the historic city and popular Residency Road,” he said.
“Whether the Jammu people had given mandate to them to end the 100 years old Darbar Move and to end the business of Jammu,” asked Bukhari in his address expressing serious concern over the plight of Jammu people in the wake of “poor business, infrastructure, scattered garbage, poor drainage system and other basic amenities.”
He criticized the BJP for misleading the people with emotional sloganeering and said, “They have played with the emotions of people and destroyed the splendid Raghunath Bazaar; Jammu’s business and its tourism sector.”
Apni Party president said that the direct train to Katra from other parts of the country affected the business very badly and no effort was made to promote tourism destinations of Jammu.
He said the BJP would claim that Jammu was facing discrimination due to Art 370 and Art 35A and accordingly they abrogated the special status claiming that the discrimination would end, fulfilling their 60 years old slogan.
“Have you witnessed any positive change after August 5, 2019 in Jammu? However, today you are witness to the situation which has turned bad to worse in Jammu city. Jammu has become backward and youth have come on the roads. At the time, when I am addressing the Convention, our youth including Finance Department’s Account Assistants, aspirants to be Sub Inspectors of J&K Police and daily wagers have been protesting in support of their genuine demands,” Bukhari said.
He said, “If someone was involved in leaking the papers for the posts of Sub Inspectors why the entire list was cancelled. It is not justified.” He again cornered BJP in its stronghold and questioned whether BJP did justice with the people of Jammu.
“No absolutely not. It has not done justice with the people of Jammu City, Jammu East and Jammu West. Had the people of Jammu given votes to BJP for this situation?” he asked.
Bukhari said, “The situation in J&K will improve if the traditional political parties like BJP, Congress, NC and PDP are rooted out of politics. They are responsible for the present situation as they exploited people in the name of regions, religion, caste, autonomy, self rule, Ek Nishan and Ek Vidhan and other slogans to mislead the people. There was no truth in their claims. We do not provoke people or involve people in any kind of controversy by giving them misleading slogans.”
He said that the Apni Party wanted to keep people of both the regions united and give them representation as per their wishes.
“The people of Jammu want development, protection of employment and their identity and the same is the demand of the people of Kashmir. The time has gone when traditional political parties would give slogans of self rule or autonomy. Such politicians are sitting in their homes. They have misled the people of J&K for the last 70 years. However, the Apni Party will fight back the divisive elements,” he added.
Bukhari said that for the last four years, BJP directly ruled J&K and the situation in Jammu turned bad to worse in employment, development and other sectors. “No Kashmiri was involved in this government. Yet Jammu has suffered badly. BJP and Congress both were involved in creating division and mistrust among the people of two regions i.e., Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
He said that both these political parties had been in the government for the last 70 years. However, they did not develop J&K. Instead, they were involved in the transfer industry, he alleged.
“Have you ever been concerned about upgrading the education system, poor infrastructure, and construction of school buildings? Do you know 90 percent of Government Girls Schools lack toilets? There is an issue of electricity. Despite a lot of issues in Jammu, you (BJP) never raised these issues but it was always involved in transfers of SHO, Tehsildars and other government officials,” he alleged.
Expressing concern over poor healthcare facilities, the Apni Party president said, “The patients go outside J&K for specialized treatment to Amritsar, Punjab or Delhi.” He questioned BJP for having failed to raise poor health care issues in Jammu.
He said that the BJP did nothing for Jammu. “What have they done for Jammu?” he questioned.
“Today they are saying that elections will be held in J&K. The constitution has given us equal rights like the people of Punjab, Delhi, Maharashtra and others states,” he said and remembered the sacrifices being made by the people living on the border belt of Jammu as well as Kashmir areas from Kathua, Samba, R S Pura, Akhnoor, Rajouri, Poonch, Karnah, Uri, Gurez and other areas.
“We are special from the rest of the country’s states as we know the value of sacrifices and nationalism. The enemy’s bullets directly hit our chests yet we do not turn our backs and continue to defend our borders. Those sitting in Delhi, Bihar or Uttar Pradesh do not know the value of sacrifice yet they teach us nationalism. If you have to learn nationalism then learn it from the people of Jammu and Kashmir and we do not need to learn it from anyone else,” he said.
Bukhari said, “Our state was divided into three pieces, one was given to China, one was made the Union Territory of Ladakh and another was made the Union Territory of J&K. Jammu people should listen to me carefully that the BJP has exploited them emotionally but did nothing for them after getting mandate.”
“Therefore, the Apni Party should be given a chance. We will do justice with people of both the regions,” he assured.
Bukhari condemned granting of domicile to the people who lived for 15 years in Jammu and Kashmir and questioned the government for “not permitting permanent residents of J&K to continue to hold Permanent Resident Certificates (PRCs) which is their identity.”
He said that the BJP was batting for the Chief Minister from Jammu. “This is the same BJP which came into power with PDP against which it had contested elections in Jammu and won the mandate of the people. They did nothing but scrapped the special status, Dogra identity, statehood and divided a historic State into two Union Territories,” he said.
Bukhari said that the Apni Party would do justice with the people of Jammu as well as Kashmir by providing employment opportunities in government and in the industrial sector with protection to their jobs, natural resources from outsiders. “The outsiders involved in exploiting natural resources will be thrown out of Lakhanpur if the Apni Party comes to power,” he assured.
He appealed to the Lieutenant Governor to look into the genuine demands of the Border Battalion, CISF, BSF, Sub Inspectors, Finance Department’s Account Assistants and criticized cancelling the selection list of Sub Inspectors of J&K Police.
“The accused persons should have been punished. However, the government has punished even the innocent aspirants who worked hard for selections,” he said and asked the government to reconsider its decision.
He also said that the Apni Party would provide 500 units of free electricity to Jammu during summers and 300 units of free electricity during winter season and 500 units free electricity during winters in Kashmir and 300 units free electricity in summer season in Kashmir.
He also said that the people would be provided 4 cylinders free of cost under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana in a year, widow pension/old age pension would be enhanced up to Rs 5000.
“We will upgrade the schools, health centres and adequate strength of staff will be deployed in all the places in J&K even in remote places for a proper health and education system. Ninety percent Government Girls Schools lack toilets and if Apni Party comes to power, we will work to improve infrastructure at all levels without discrimination against any region, religion, caste, creed or anyone,” he promised.
Prominent among those who were present in the one day convention included Bodh Raj Bhagat, Raman Thappa, Pushp Kumar Uppal, Madan Lal Chalotra, Khushboo Bhagat, Harpreet Sethi, Kulwant Singh, Rupali Rani, Nisha Sharma, Pavneet Kumar, Vikram Rathore, Sheikh Latief, Zulkharian Sheikh, Darshan Mehra, Raqeeq Ahmed Khan besides others.