Cong to continue its struggle for Assembly polls, popular Govt in J&K: Azad

Former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing large public rally at Bhaderwah on Wednesday. —Excelsior/ Tilak Raj
Former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing large public rally at Bhaderwah on Wednesday. —Excelsior/ Tilak Raj

‘BJP leaders happy with proxy rule, many turned Thekedars’

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, Dec 22: While alleging that uncared for the public sufferings, BJP leaders are happy with the ‘proxy rule’ in Jammu and Kashmir, former J&K Chief Minister and senior Congress leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad today said that his party would continue its struggle for the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir after the winters to provide a popular Government to the people in the Union Territory.
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Talking to media-persons at the sidelines of a large public rally at Bhaderwah town in district Doda today, Azad said that the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders here are happy with the party’s “proxy rule” in Jammu and Kashmir. Many of them have no mind, eyes, ears and even a heart to feel pain of the public. Such people should be made to sit at home.
Azad said the BJP leaders in J&K are happy even in the absence of popular Government because they have turned ‘Thekedars’ and are busy in getting every small and big contract.
“They (BJP leaders) are happy because they are being benefitted this way or that way,” Azad added.
“Earlier they were either Ministers or MLAs but now they have turned ‘Thekedar’ (contractors) and are busy in getting every big or small contract,” former Chief Minister alleged.
It is either power projects, road projects, developmental or infrastructure, every Panch, Sarpanch, Corporator or leader of BJP is running after contracts, said Azad adding, “why would they want to have an elected Government if they are already happy.”
The one who is suffering, are the common people, especially those who are not affiliated to any political party, Azad asserted
“Winter is very harsh here and therefore, the elections are not possible at this time. However, we are putting pressure on the Government of India to hold elections after winters and we will continue to do so to ensure an elected popular Government in Jammu and Kashmir for the benefit of the people,” Azad said.
The senior Congress leader said he was not interested who becomes the Chief Minister and which party comes to power. ” It is the choice of the voters whom they want to give a chance but my request is that do not vote on the basis of religion. Development should be the criteria for seeking votes,” he maintained.
Without naming BJP, Azad said this Government has no experience to rule but has a fondness for ruling.
“Jammu and Kashmir has been pushed 20 years back by the August 5, 2019 decision, when the erstwhile State was disbanded and its special status abrogated,” he said.
“They stitched an alliance with a regional party (PDP) in 2015 and later, pulled out of it to have a proxy rule through the Lieutenant Governor. Earlier, people used to visit their elected representatives to seek redressal of their grievances but after the fall of the previous Government, the miseries of the people have increased manifold as nobody was there to listen to their problems,” he said.
Earlier, addressing large rally, Azad said a leader does not discriminate against people on the basis of religion and region.
“Divisive politics will ruin our great country,” the former Union Minister said, asking people to remain cautious against those who try to divide them on the basis of religion ahead of elections.
Referring to his close relations with leaders from other political parties, including those from the BJP, specially Daya Krishan Kotwal and others, he said the time have changed and today, the situation has reached a point where leaders from different parties are treating others like “scorpions or snakes”.
“It is very unfortunate. We are all humans first and our motive should be serving the people irrespective of their religion or region. We are all Indians and the country belongs to all of us,” Azad maintained.
“Such a Government or leaders who have no mind, eyes, ears and a heart, has no right to remain in power and should be shown the door and made to sit at home,” the former Chief Minister said.
Azad also lashed out at the government for its “failure” to carry out development activities, address the issue of increasing unemployment and arrest the rising prices of essential commodities. He said people across the country are suffering due to joblessness, inflation and poverty.
AICC leader exhorted people to reject those doing politics on the basis of religion and said Jammu and Kashmir and the entire country needs to get united to face bigger challenges like Corona, unemployment, corruption and inflation.
“India did not remain as it was seven years before and likewise, J&K did not remain the way it was some three or four years ago. We are witnessing a lot of changes. We are heading backwards,” Azad regretted.
“The developments are confined to papers and speeches only and the developmental works have stalled due to lack of work culture,” Azad added.
He said no one is ready to listen protesting employees, daily wagers, poor people, traders, educated unemployed youth and those residing in the remote and far flung areas.
Azad referred to the developmental works done by Congress during his tenure as CM J&K. He said that there was equality and justice with all areas in developmental activities. There was trend of double and triple-shift and all the workers used to get job. With this he managed to save cost overrun of many projects and saved about 30-35 % funds of the Government.
AICC leader said when he was Chief Minister here, he worked 18 to 20 hours a day for the welfare of people. “I started new era of development by initiating triple shift in developmental works, due to which maximum number of works get completed before time beside people get works in these projects. There is no work culture of double and triple-shifts now,” Azad added.
Former ministers Ghulam Mohd Saroori, Jugal Kishor Sharma, Abdul Majeed Wani, Dr Manohar Lal Sharma , ex-MLCs Naresh Gupta and Sham Lal Bhagat besides district president, Sheikh Mujeeb also spoke on the occasion.