Elections before Statehood to J&K great mistake: Azad to Centre

‘We are great loser after State’s division into 2 UTs’

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, Oct 24: Reacting to Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement on delimitation exercise in Jammu and Kashmir, senior All India Congress Committee leader and former J&K Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad has said that the Union Government should not commit the mistake of doing delimitation first and then giving Statehood to the Jammu and Kashmir.
“Our demand is still the same and we would like to have Statehood first followed by elections,” Azad said while talking to media-persons today.
“I had requested both, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Home Minister, Amit Shah during meeting in Delhi that we are thankful to them that statehood is being granted and state shouldn’t have been divided into two. But having been divided, now you have agreed to give statehood but don’t do the mistake of doing delimitation first and then giving statehood,” he added.
Taking a dig at BJP, Azad said Kashmiris were far better when Jammu & Kashmir was being ruled by various Chief Ministers before the abrogation of Article 370. He said J&K had lost a great lot since its division.
The State of Jammu and Kashmir was split into two Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir on October 31, 2019.
“We were told that the scenario in J&K will change after the abrogation of Art 370 and the Government will take care of massive development, growth, unemployment, raising many hospitals but that has not happened at all,” he regretted.
“Kashmiris are big loser after the State has been divided into two Union Territories. We are a great loser ever since the Assembly has been dissolved,” Azad asserted.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his Jammu rally today said that the Statehood to Jammu and Kashmir will be restored after the delimitation of constituencies and Assembly elections. He further said that delimitation will not be stopped and that it will harm political interests.
“Now nothing will stop in Kashmir. Delimitation will happen, followed by elections and then restoration of Statehood so that the youth of Kashmir get opportunities. I had said that in the Parliament also. And, this is the roadmap. I came here to make friends with the Kashmiri youth,” he added.
The Home Minister also asserted that the Government is aiming to wipe out terrorism from Jammu and Kashmir and put an end to civilian killings.
Not only Azad, National Conference chief and former J&K Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah today also slammed the Centre for scrapping Article 370. He said,” The Centre has been dishonest with the Jammu and Kashmir. It scrapped Articles 370 and 35A and made the region a Union Territory. If NC is brought to power it will restore Articles 370 and 35 A,” he added.