Azad demands immediate Assembly elections in J&K

DAP chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing a rally at Lolab in Kupwara on Thursday.
DAP chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing a rally at Lolab in Kupwara on Thursday.

Fayaz Bukhari
Srinagar, Dec 8: Democratic Azad Party chairman and former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today demanded holding of Assembly elections as soon as possible in Jammu and Kashmir saying that the people are without representatives for the last 5 years.
“J&K is currently experiencing an economic and political crisis, and if we want to get the UT out of this mess, elections should be held in the coming six months when the weather improves. Everything will be over by 2024,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a rally at Lolab in Kupwara today.

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Azad said that it was wrong to dissolve the Assembly. “We do not want to wait till 2024 because nothing has changed in the last four years. It was wrong to dissolve the Assembly, which was never needed in the first place,” he said.
“The elections should have taken place within six months of when the process was completed, but it has already been close to five years. Several events occurred during this period that we could never have imagined. We never imagined that the State that has existed since the Maharaja or Mughal era would be divided and devalued due to the revocation of Article 370,” he said.
The DAP chief said that situation in J&K has worsened due to the steps taken in 2019 and after it.
“No matter how you evaluate it-economically, politically, or by any other metric-the situation has worsened as a result of these unfortunate events. Additionally, there are no public representatives, such as an MLA, Minister, or Chief Minister, because elections were not held. When there are no doctors, teachers, or even employment, where will people go? Which door will they knock on?” he asked.
“And for that reason, everyone in the area, whether a young person or a laborer, is frustrated. Despite having the best credentials, young people lack employment and turn to drugs,” he said.
Azad said that the developmental projects approved and executed during his short tenure as a Chief Minister have changed the infrastructural landscape of this border region. He said since then no Government in power ever could match the developmental pace and all the benefits people take out of facilities are being sanctioned or executed during his tenure only.
“Tell me what they did to benefit people. You have got 15 major bridges spanning around 200 to 100 meters. 200 bedded district hospital at Kupwara, Degree College for Boys and girls, 200 bedded Hospital at Handwara, 100 bedded hospital at Kralpora, Degree College at Handwara, PMGSY Roads worth Rs 200 crores, District Administration complex and Rural Development complex,” Azad reminded the people during his public rally.
He challenged the political parties and asked them to show what they did during their tenure. “Things shall be crystal clear for people. Whatever I did for people I mention it today proudly. Other political parties must also come clear with their track record and let’s see who stands where,” he said while challenging all political parties without naming anyone.
Azad said that now his party has yet another political battle to fight for the people of Jammu Kashmir. “If we are elected to power after the elections take place, we will ensure the jobs and land rights are secured for local people,” he said.
“Our fight for the rights of local people will continue but if you are in power you negotiate from the position of strength. So winning elections will help us to strengthen our resolve to bargain for our people,” he added.
Azad said that the economic situation of Jammu Kashmir is concerning him. “When I was the Chief Minister, no Kashmiri was forced to go outside for a job. But now the trend is upsetting since mostly the labourers don’t get jobs here and are forced to migrate to the mainland to earn livelihood. Our economy is in a deep crisis,” he said.
The DAP chairman said that there is also a governance deficit prevalent on many fronts.” Hospitals and facilities, doctors are missing from duties in many hospitals. Teachers are not available to teach students and no one is caring at all. There is a complete governance deficit,” he said.