‘We will bring change in City’
SRINAGAR, Nov 6: Former National Conference spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu, was today elected Mayor while as Sheikh Mohammad Imran , was elected Deputy Mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC).
In the election for Mayor that was held at SMC office in Karan Nagar, Mattu polled 40 votes out of 70 while four votes were declared invalid and Congress candidate, Ghulam Rasool Hajam got 26 votes.
Mattu was an Independent candidate from four Wards, winning from three of them. Chairman of Peoples Conference, Sajjad Lone, who was backing him declared him Mayoral candidate for Srinagar on October 20.
Mattu has been educated in the United States, was an American Green Card Holder and a financial analyst by profession. He returned to Kashmir in 2009 to join mainstream politics.
Mattu had started his political career with Sajjad Lone’s Peoples Conference in 2009. Four years later, he parted ways with Lone’s party and joined the National Conference. He was one of the most vocal National Conference leaders on social media and was elected as party spokesperson. He was considered close to former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah
Sheikh Imran who has been elected as the Deputy Mayor, was an Independent candidate from Ward no 3 Nishat. He is a businessman and had recently formed a political party.
Speaking to reporters after becoming Mayor, Mattu said: “Change is inevitable. Change has come to Srinagar. This message is for the people who were exploiting the mainstream politics and have made it their territorial asset”.
Taking a dig at NC and PDP, he said: “people who had this delusion that without them change and empowerment cannot be delivered to the people, let me tell them the people have been empowered today”, he said.
Mattu said that his objective is to bring change in Srinagar. “We have all witnessed under what circumstances were elections held here. Unfortunately, people try to pollute the system during elections and continue maligning the institution post elections as well. But that is now thing of past, we have developmental and infrastructural needs. On a societal level, we have to make changes. We have to make Srinagar a world-class tourist city keeping in view the ecological balance of Srinagar. First of all, we have increased the dignity of residents and improve standards of living of people here and for that, we will take along our competitors as well. I will work with all the Corporators of the city. Our team will bring change in Srinagar”, he added.
The Mayor said that both NC and PDP fielded proxies and their double standards have been exposed. “These people fought elections half-heartedly through proxies. But after the elections concluded their top leadership including two former Chief Ministers got involved in Mayor elections. If they have boycotted the elections why not Mayor elections. They have been discredited and exposed. They showed double standards”, he added.
When asked that Governor, SP Malik, had without naming Mattu that he will be Mayor of Srinagar, he said may be Governor had read the ground situation well. “We did not fight elections on perception. We worked hard for the elections. We have fought elections with honesty and dedication. If the Governor has made a remark may be he might have read the ground situation too well”, he said.
Mattu said that he will work for the security of Corporators and those who lost Municipal elections. “I will be meeting the Governor and make sure that security is provided to every Corporator as well timely security cover for candidates who lost the elections”, he said.
When asked that he was speaking against BJP and now has joined hands with them, Mattu said: “If they have won the election it’s their right to stand here. People have worked with them earlier as well. First, ask this question to these people”.
The Mayor said that Srinagar city has developmental challenges and he will focus on development.
“We have developmental challenges and are focused on that only”, he added.