Azad dodges controversy over more seats to Jammu, says J&K is one

‘BJP day-dreaming of getting majority in polls’

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, Dec 25: Dodging controversy over the Delimitation Commission’s draft report which enhances six Assembly seats in Jammu province and one in Kashmir valley, former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad today said that entire J&K is a single entity for him.

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“We consider J&K as a State and whether the seats are given here (Jammu) or there (Kashmir), we should talk in terms of whole J&K State, irrespective of regions,” he said in response to a query by media persons on the sidelines of a function in connection with the Christmas day, organized by the Christian community in Udhampur town today.
Avoiding a direct answer on the draft report of the Delimitation Commission, Azad said that his struggle was not limited for a particular region but for restoration of Statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, which was reduced to a Union Territory.
“For me, Jammu and Kashmir is one, and so, I cannot take side for one or the other region,” he added.
Pertinent to mention here that the Delimitation Commission’s draft report, which recommends enhancing six Assembly seats for Jammu province and one for Kashmir valley , has drawn a clear division among all the J&K based political parties, which are either in favour or against the increase of Jammu seats.
In response to another query, the senior Congress leader pooh-poohed BJP claims of managing to win more than 50 seats in the next Assembly elections in J&K and said that the saffron party leaders were daydreaming.
Earlier, while addressing the Christmas function, where he was invited as the chief guest, Ghulam Nabi Azad said that politics was root cause of religious divide in the country.
“Whether it is the election for DDC, Panchayat, Parliament or Assembly, politicians divide people in the name of religion, region, caste and inflict huge loss to brotherhood for their vested interests,” said Azad, who has been in political life for the last more than four decades.
In apparent criticism to controversial Anti-Conversion Laws being framed by BJP ruled States, Ghulam Nabi Azad said that conversion from one religion to another was a matter of individual’s faith and the same was not possible by force in the modern times.
Maintaining that all religions give message of peace, brotherhood and humanity, the former Chief Minister said that he was greatly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of service to humanity since his student life. “That is why 40 percent of my speeches remain around the topic of service to humanity,” he said.
Greeting people on the occasion of Christmas, Ghulam Nabi Azad said that Jesus Christ’s message was not meant for Christians only but for entire humanity.
A number of senior Congressmen and religious leaders of the Christian community were present on the occasion.