Azad launches Democratic Azad Party in J&K

Former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad unveils the flag of his new ‘Democratic Azad Party’ during a press conference in Jammu on Monday. -Excelsor/Rakesh
Former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad unveils the flag of his new ‘Democratic Azad Party’ during a press conference in Jammu on Monday. -Excelsor/Rakesh

‘DAP not to make Art 370 an election issue’
* Says 50% seats will be reserved for women, youth
Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, Sept 26: While launching Democratic Azad Party (DAP) here today, former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that his party will not make the restoration of Article 370 an ‘election issue’ in the Jammu and Kashmir.
“Our party will make development as ‘election plank’ besides restoration of Statehood to J&K and protecting jobs and lands of the locals. The issues of roads, water supply and price rise etc are meant for elections. I don’t stop anybody from making any thing an election issue. I have a lot of things, why should I make it an election issue,” Azad said while speaking to media-persons after launch of his new party on Ist Navratra at Jammu.
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Replying to a question about Kashmir-centric parties, particularly the PDP, criticising his remarks on Article 370, Azad said, “You just check Parliament records of who has spoken or who has not on this issue. Get the record of Parliament on any one’s name. But my take is simple that I don’t use such issues for elections.”
“I am launching Democratic Azad Party (DAP) from here today. It symbolises democracy and freedom of speech and thoughts. Our ideology will be based on the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi,” he said.
Azad also displayed Party flag (Blue, White and Yellow) during crowded press conference and explained about the idea behind choosing these colours connected to peace, creativity and deep and wide like a sea.
The former Congress leader said DAP will have no comparison or enemity with any other political party. It will focus on restoration of peace and normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir.
“ I have never said restoration of Article 370 was not possible. And I never said this can’t happen. I said that I cannot convince Prime Minister Narendra Modi. If anyone can persuade Modi Ji and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, they should do it. It will be a welcome step. I do not have any such influence on Modi Ji,” Azad maintained.
“ Only Parliament can restore Article 370 but we need a majority. When voting took place in Parliament on Article 370, they got 86 per cent votes. But I do not see chances of getting such a big majority in near future by the opposition. The second option is the Supreme Court,” Azad added.
By abrogating Article 370, the Central Government had revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The Supreme Court has agreed to list after Dussehra vacation the pleas challenging the decision. “It was a welcome step that the Supreme Court will be hearing the case from October 10,” Azad said.
“ In fact, Maharaja Hari Singh on the request of local people from J&K and specially Kashmiris, enacted State Subject Law to stop the settlement of rich people from Lahore and other parts of Punjab in 1927 and then made amendment in 1932. It continued even after Accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir with the Union of India in 1947. Article 370 is basically ‘a child’ of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir with India,” Azad remarked.
“ We have already declared that our priority will be to restore Statehood to J&K besides protecting jobs and lands of the local. DAP will focus on the development, restoration of peace and normalcy in J&K. Our party has resolved to provide 50% seats to the women and youth during upcoming elections,” Azad maintained.
“ We have no enemity with any one. We consider all the political parties as our competitors like students in a class, who work hard for getting good grade with their performance. People of J&K during my previous stint as Chief Minister have witnessed our capacity to work and ensure development in each and every sector. I wish to accomplish my unfinished agenda in the Jammu and Kashmir if voted to power by my people,” Azad stated.
“ I welcome such people who wish to serve the people with dedication, commitment and honesty and not making money in politics. We need young, educated, visionary and people having clean track record. The real purpose of the politics is to serve the people. I consider Mahatma Gandhi as my ideal since my college days and will continue to follow his principles even in my new party,” Azad added.
Referring to bringing an end to the age old practice of Darbar Move in J&K, Azad said several delegations of traders and industrialists from Kashmir and Jammu conveyed him about adverse impact on their business with this. Azad said both the regions are inter-dependent on each other in many ways. Traders of Jammu earn better during winter months due to Darbar move and similarly, traders in Kashmir make more profit during summer months. Many industries of Samba, Kathua and Bari Brahmana sell their goods in Kashmir and at present they are suffering badly due to certain conditions and adverse impact of this act. He said the Government must restore Darbar Move practice for the welfare of the traders, transporters and industrialists of both the regions.
Azad further expressed serious concern over the losses being suffered by the fruit growers of Kashmir due to stoppage of apple laden trucks by the Traffic police authorities on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway for days together. He said fruit season was going on, the crop was also good this time. It becomes responsibility of the LG’s Administration to allow hassle –free movement of fruit laden trucks to Delhi Fruit Mandi and other markets in the country. “ I will take up the issue with LG”, Azad said.
Several senior leaders including former DyCM Tara Chand, Ghulam Mohd Saroori, RS Chib, Jugal Kishore Sharma, Abdul Majid Wani, Balwan Singh, Arvinder Singh Micky, Dr Manohar Lal, Ch Garu Ram, Naresh Gupta, Gulzar Ahmed Wani, Amin Bhat, Aslam Goni, Maheshwar Singh, Vinod Mishra, Vinod Sharma, Narender Sharma and many others were present on the occasion.