Restore statehood immediately after holding Assembly polls: Azad

DPAP chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing a large public meeting in Anantnag on Monday.
DPAP chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing a large public meeting in Anantnag on Monday.

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, Mar 4: Former J&K Chief Minister and DPAP chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad today said that statehood should be restored to Jammu and Kashmir immediately after Assembly elections are held in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Addressing a large public meeting at Aishmuqam in Anantnag today, Azad said Prime Minister and the Home Minister have promised in the Parliament to restore the statehood to Jammu and Kashmir. “We had insisted that it should be done before the Assembly elections, but the Government said they will do it after the Assembly elections,” Azad said.
The former Chief Minister said that statehood should be restored immediately after the polls as the Government has not specified the time frame for it.
On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kashmir later this week, Azad said that it was an overdue visit. “The Prime Minister visits various parts of the country. His visit to Kashmir was overdue, he visited Jammu last month. I will request the PM to carry out the works which the local Government cannot do. I would request that two thermal power projects — one each in Kashmir and Jammu regions — with a total generation capacity of 4,000 MW be set up to ensure there is no energy deficit in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Azad said that electricity was the basic requirement for Modi’s favourite programme for startups.
“That is the only way to address unemployment in Jammu and Kashmir,” Azad said.
“Jammu and Kashmir has been ruled by the BJP for the last 10 years, for four years in coalition and then directly. In the past two years, I have visited vast areas of Jammu and Kashmir and found that one problem is common and that is electricity,” he added.
While encouraging unity among the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Azad invoked the timeless words of poet Allama Iqbal, “Tumhari Dastan na Hogi Dastanon Mein,” urging people to rise above divisions and work collectively towards a brighter future.
Azad rallied the people against divisive forces seeking to oppress them. He said some elements are attempting to suppress the people, while others have succumbed to compromise, either in the past or potentially in the future. However, he stressed the urgent need for unity to thwart these attempts. He appealed for the collective effort to combat poverty and accelerate development in the region, drawing upon his track record of accomplishments as both Chief Minister and Union Health Minister.
“My sole aim is to uplift the poor and ensure peace. We are committed to revitalizing the tourism sector,” Azad said and lamented the untapped tourism potential in South Kashmir, pledging to address this oversight and harness the region’s abundant opportunities for development.
He reiterated his staunch resistance against the revocation of Article 370 in Parliament, along with his vocal opposition to the CAA/NRC and mob lynchings. He specifically pointed out the silence of the MPs from the National Conference, expressing concern over their failure to speak up on these significant matters. He urged the people not to fall under the influence of political parties that seek to divide communities based on religion or region.
Azad highlighted the plight of impoverished families who took out bank loans to educate their children, only to find their highly educated youth struggling to find employment. He pledged that his Government would prioritize job creation and address the issue of unemployment and under employment by regularizing casual labourers and adhoc employees. He also made commitments to initiate thermal power projects and provide free electricity to impoverished households, aiming to alleviate the burden of utility expenses on those in need.
DPAP leader also pledged to introduce legislation to protect both land and jobs, ensuring the security of livelihoods for the people, also immediate restoration of statehood. He vowed to uphold and enhance schemes like the Roshni, aimed at empowering marginalized communities and providing them with opportunities for growth and development.
Prominent among others who were present on the occasion included- Mohd Yousef Gorsi, Chairman DDC Anantnag, Gulzar Wani Zonal president, Salman Nizami chief spokesperson, Mir Altaf general secretary Province, Zameer Ahmed Distt president Anantnag and others.