Srinagar: Combined opposition candidate for presidential poll Yashwant Sinha Saturday said that if elected, one of his priorities would be to urge the government to resolve the Kashmir issue permanently and restore peace, justice, democracy, and normalcy to J&K.
The former BJP leader was here on a day-long visit to drum up support for his presidential bid.
While there is no legislative assembly in J&K as of now, it has five Lok Sabha members - three from the National Conference (NC) and two from the BJP.
There are no Rajya Sabha members from J&K as of date.
“If elected, I shall perform my duty as the custodian of the constitution without fear or favour. One of my priorities will be to urge the government to take all necessary steps to resolve the Kashmir issue permanently, and restore peace, justice, democracy, normalcy, and holistic development to J&K,” Sinha told reporters here.
He said it was deeply regrettable that the Supreme Court was yet to begin hearing the matter related to the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35-A nearly three years after the Centre revoked them. “Long pendency of constitutional cases erodes the credibility of the apex court,” he said, adding that the statehood of J&K should be restored and free and fair elections to the assembly should be held at the earliest.
“I am opposed to forcible and manipulative demographic change in J&K,” he said.
Sinha also said that the Centre has failed in its promise to create conditions for the return of Kashmiri Pandits.
“It must fulfill the promise not only for Kashmiri Pandits but also for all others who were forced to migrate out of Kashmir,” he said.
Sinha said Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an All-Party Meeting (APM) in June 2020 had promised to remove the ‘Dil ki Doori’ and ‘Dilli ki Doori’ (the distance from the heart and Delhi). “Over two years have passed and the promise remains unfulfilled.”
He said he had great personal regard for the NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu.
“However, from Srinagar, I urge her to make the same affirmations and promises I have made. The people of J&K also expect this assurance from her,” he said.
The opposition candidate said he was asked the rationale behind his Srinagar visit as J&K was largely unrepresented in the presidential election.
“I told them I am going to Srinagar to highlight the injustice done to the people of J&K. I would like the people of the rest of India to know how their compatriots in J&K have been robbed of their fundamental and democratic rights,” he said.
Sinha said J&K cannot be won over through management.
“There is no will to fight out the injustice in J&K. Perhaps, that is why there are no assembly elections. Perhaps that is why the unnecessary delimitation exercise was carried out which has done justice to none. They should know that J&K cannot be won over by management,” he said.