Don’t fall prey to divisive forces: Azad

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad addresses a rally at Banihal on Tuesday.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad addresses a rally at Banihal on Tuesday.

Elected Reps should treat all alike

Sanjeev K. Sharma
JAMMU/BANIHAL, Nov 16: Claiming that J&K needs a change, senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State, Ghulam Nabi Azad cautioned the people from falling prey to divisive forces and temptations as the same may again make them to “repent” for fallouts like political development of August 5, 2019.
It is pertinent to mention here that on August 5, 2019 the Articles 370 and 35-A granting special status to the erstwhile J&K State was abrogated and the State was bifurcated into two Union Territories—J&K, and Ladakh.
Without naming his bête noire BJP, Azad while addressing a mammoth public gathering at his political rally at Banihal today, said: “Many attempts will be made to divide Hindus and Muslims, people of Kashmir and Jammu, Gujjars and Paharis, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Upper and Lower castes and many temptations of trade and business promotion might also be given to you which may leave you to repent for August 5, 2019 like changes if you fall into such designs.”
He asked the people to use “those horses which are capable of crossing the river in storm” and “choose the leaders which are time tested and don’t try those who may themselves drown and make others drown too.”
The Congress leader said that only courage is needed for such changes and added: “We all Hindus and Muslims of this country and State will remain one and united.”
Referring to his tenure as CM of J&K, Azad said: “When our government was there I had told in Kashmir as well in Jammu that that if any Minister of my Cabinet will divide people on base of religion, he will then not be fit to remain in my cabinet and I today also say that if anyone among us decides things on base of one’s religion and caste, that person is not fit for politics.”
Azad said that an elected representative should treat all his voters alike irrespective of their religion or caste.
Taking a dig at the present Government, he said that Rehebar-e-Khel employees even reached New Delhi demanding regularization of their jobs while in Congress tenure Rehbar-e-Zirat employees had met him and the very next day their regularization was ordered.
The Congress leader said that Anganwadi, ASHA workers and many others regularly stage protest demonstration while casual labourers are ousted from all the departments in J&K while the prices of commodities are touching skies.
“In our times cooking gas cylinder was available at Rs. 425 but today this has touched Rs. 1000 mark while the prices of petrol and diesel have also crossed Rs. 100 mark,” he maintained adding that food and clothes have become costly today but there are no jobs for unemployed people while those who are employed are not getting increments though prices of commodities are increasing.
“Those labourers who worked in double and triple shifts when I was CM are today not even getting work for a single shift and they are finding it tough to feed their children,” Azad said adding that poor is becoming poorer today because of sky rocketing prices and unemployment.
He said, while the maiden Block Development Councils (BDCs) and District Development Councils (DDCs) in J&K are loudly and repeatedly talked in Parliament and other places as achievements but so far these local bodies have not been properly empowered here.
“They are told to make budget and plans (of developmental works) which never returned to them,” the Congress leader said referring to BDC and DDC members.
He also said that BDC and DDC members are not there for getting Rs. 15,000 salaries as they could otherwise have earned handsome salaries by doing other works.
“They are political leaders no matter to whichever party they belong to and political leaders are not for money for themselves but they prefer to works so that the poor may get schools for their children, good roads, lanes and drains etc,” Azad said.
“I will request the administration to work more and advertise less and come on ground from airs to see people and their problems more closely,” he said appealing the gathering to maintain proper safeguards like use of masks etc to prevent COVID-19 infections.