I will accomplish my unfinished agenda: Azad

Former J&K CM Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing a public rally at Bhalla in Bhaderwah on Thursday. -Excelsior/Tilak Raj
Former J&K CM Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing a public rally at Bhalla in Bhaderwah on Thursday. -Excelsior/Tilak Raj

‘Sonia, Rahul fired missiles at me, but I retaliated with single shot of gun’

Statehood, protecting jobs, lands of locals my priority

Gopal Sharma

UDHAMPUR/BHADERWAH, Sept 8: Former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today said that he wish to accomplish his unfinished agenda (works) during his previous term as Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir but restoration of Statehood to J&K and protecting jobs and lands of the locals will be his top priority.

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Addressing public meetings at Udhampur and Bhalla town of Bhaderwah Sub Division in district Doda today, Azad said,” I wish to accomplish my unfinished agenda in Jammu and Kashmir. I could not complete my term as Chief Minister in Coalition Government during 2007-08 as ‘my associates’ pulled out my Government during that time,” Azad regretted.
“Many development projects and other works started by me during that time could not be completed till today. Many of the projects launched by us were shelved by the next Government. We wanted to deliver good to our people but could not complete that mission for which I have regrets,” Azad maintained.
“The overwhelming love and support which I have been receiving from the people not only those connected with the Congress party but from the general public from all the communities whether Muslims, Hindus or Christians, made me to realise that I should have parted ways with the Congress party much earlier and joined them here to share their grief and pains,” Azad added.
While justifying his act of quiting Congress party, Azad said he took long time to think on this decision. “It was very tough and painful on my part. But such circumstances had been created by the people around party high command that those who had given entire life, their blood and sweat for the party were being dishonoured and sidelined. This made many senior leaders to say good bye to the party as those sitting at the helm of affairs are not prepared to realise that party is going to face identity crisis and bring major changes to save it from further destruction.”
Without naming Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, Azad said he remained silent for three days after quiting party and did not speak anything against any one including Gandhi family.
“I sent a long letter to the Party president mentioning all the reasons. But when they started firing missiles at me, then I thought it has been mentioned in Islam and other Dharam Granthas as well that one must protect himself when he is being attacked from other sides. I just fired a shot with a single barrel gun and they were grounded. Had I been fired Ballistic missile, the results would have been devastating. But I will not do that. After all I always considered late Indira Gandhi like my mother and Late Rajiv Gandhi as my friend, brother and colleague. I will not go below to that extent,” Azad remarked.
Referring to the growing problem of unemployment in J&K, former J&K Chief Minister said that many of our boys and girls are highly educated. They are Graduates, Post Graduates and even PhD but are not getting jobs. Their poor parents with lot of struggle sent them college fee to Bangalore, Pune, Delhi or elsewhere for good education. But it pains me when they get temporary/ contractual jobs @ Rs 3000 or Rs 3500 per month. He said unemployment is major issue in J&K and is needed to be tackled with a visionary and positive approach.
Senior former AICC leader was earlier accorded a warm reception by his supporters at Udhampur, Batote, Bhalla and Bhaderwah. He was garlanded profusely and people raised loud slogans in his praise. He also interacted with people at some places enroute Bhaderwah.
Azad further said restoration of Statehood, right to land and employment to native domiciles, creating employment will be top on the agenda of his new party.
“Full Statehood means there should be a Governor and not the Lt Governor and a powerful Assembly in J&K enough to enact laws,” Azad added.
“Outsiders should not be able to buy land, either in Jammu or Kashmir and jobs should not be given to the outsiders. Very less number of job opportunities unlike other larger States are available in Jammu and Kashmir. Therefore, the jobs of the locals should not be snatched by the youth from outside J&K. There are no big industries. Rail Coach factories, Corporate houses, large Agricultural lands etc. The scope is very less here in J&K,” he said.
He referred to massive tourism potential in Jammu region as well and said there is need to exploit that treasure trove and attract out religious pilgrimage towards tourist resorts by providing good facilities. It will generate huge job opportunity for locals.
Azad lauded the last Dogra ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh, for his vision of introducing land and job safeguards for us. And this was not unconstitutional at all.
He said from Presidents to Prime Ministers, both from Congress and other parties, accepted this Constitutional safeguard which was adopted by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and therefore, who are we to say that it is wrong.
He recalled that in August 2019, the Central Government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated the State into two Union Territories.
Referring to the recent targeted killings by terrorists in the Valley, he said, “Such killings should stop forthwith and anyone willing to return should be provided security and accommodation. We do not want anyone to be forced to return to Kashmir,” he added.
Azad said his party would work to ensure honour, dignity, respect and integrity of the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and start Confidence-Building Measures.
He said his party would work for equitable development of both the regions, providing homes to over 2.50 lakh homeless in Jammu, development of sports infrastructure at district level, IT parks and promotion of healthcare.
Azad said Industry in Jammu, Kathua and Samba is facing closure after COVID-19 crisis. Over 60 % Industries have closed down. Thousands of workers have turned jobless. There is great need to revive the ailing J&K industry for providing much needed support, create more and more skill development institutes and trained our work force /youth, Daily wagers are protesting since long for wages and regularisation. There are no sincere efforts for their settlement, he added.
Unfortunately, after snatching of Statehood, outsiders have taken full control on miner minerals like- sand and gravel, With this, the rates of sand, stones, gravel (Bajri) etc have gone sky high. Constructing a house has gone beyond the control of a middle class or lower middle class family. There is loot of local resources which is needed to be plugged. The price hike has also made the life of poor people miserable. The people are unable to project their issues in the absence of a popular Government.
Recalling massive development in J&K during his two and half years tenure as Chief Minister, Azad said the triple shift work concept he delivered in the erstwhile State and the people still remember those days.
Senior leaders G M Saroori, Abdul Majid Wani, Naresh Gupta, PR Manhas, Salman Nizami, Sham Lal Bhagat and others accompanied Azad.