‘Politicians reluctant to contest polls under UT status’
Jammu, July 25: Urging Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to fulfil his commitment made in Parliament last year, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told the former to restore Statehood of Jammu and Kashmir at the earliest and subsequently hold elections in the Union Territory.
This was stated by the former Chief Minister, who called on the Prime Minister to discuss various critical issues being confronted by the Union Territory and the meeting lasted for around one hour.
Asked about the details of the meeting, Azad told EXCELSIOR from New Delhi, “I told the Prime Minister that we have been discussing various challenges facing the country from time to time inside and outside Parliament. But, today I have specifically come to hold deliberations on issue confronting Jammu and Kashmir”, adding, “the State which has been bifurcated into Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has been facing serious challenges on all fronts — political, social and economic”.
“First and foremost I told the Prime Minister that he as head of the country and his Cabinet colleague, Home Minister Amit Shah had assured the country in Parliament almost a year back that Statehood would be restored in Jammu and Kashmir after some time. Now, the time has come to honour their commitment and everyone is looking forward to the same”, said Azad.
Claiming that none of the existing and mushrooming political parties were willing to contest elections in the Union Territory, he said, “the political process will not take – off, unless we restore Statehood to Jammu and Kashmir as most of the politicians were reluctant to resume their activities as of now”.
“Restoration of Statehood would set the ball rolling and it should be followed by conducting elections to the Legislative Assembly. Restoration of a democratically elected Government would bring relief to the people of J&K and would also usher into an era of development, which is the priority of the Centre also”, he candidly told the Prime Minister.
Azad said, “presently members affiliated with several political parties were feeling threatened and reluctant to resume their activities as security of most of them had either been haphazardly withdrawn or downgraded making them vulnerable”, adding “for resumption of political activities in the UT, we need to immediately give a sense of security to the political class by restoring their security and vehicles, while taking into consideration the existing threat perceptions”.
The Central Government along with the UT administration also needs to address the issue of ever rising unemployment in both educated and uneducated sectors.
Asked if the skirmishes along the LAC and LoC came up for discussion with the Prime Minister, he said, “I told the latter that Jammu and Kashmir is strategically located and due to sensitivities involved, we need to urgently address all issue of border areas and it is in the interest of country that the youth of UT are kept engaged in constructive activities”.
“Lastly, I urged him to extend all possible expertise from the Centre to check further spread of Coronavirus disease, particularly in Kashmir which has witnessed a sudden spike in deaths over the past some time”, he asserted.