JAMMU, Dec 5: Senior Congress leader and former minister Raman Bhalla today demanded that Centre must first grant statehood and then conduct elections in J&K.
His comments came a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah assured of delimitation in Jammu & Kashmir, followed by elections and restoration of statehood. “Our demand remains that first statehood should be granted and that should be followed by elections,” Bhalla said.
He said that the state had lost a great lot since its division. “We were told that the scene in Jammu & Kashmir will change with their decisions in J&K, hospitals, unemployment will be taken care of. But that has not happened at all. As a matter of fact, we were far better off when it was state,” Bhalla said.
“We have been a great loser after the state’s division into two parts. We have been a great loser ever since the Assembly was dissolved,” he added.
He added that even after formal transition of J&K from State to UT on October 31, the issue of domicile safeguard and job safety and security has been left unaddressed. The future of lakhs of unemployed youth is in jeopardy, he added.
Bhalla said that present dispensation is turning a blind eye towards the apprehensions and concerns of people of J&K, especially Jammu region. Taking a dig at Union Govt, Bhalla claimed that Jammu region is reeling under shortage of various basic requirements but Govt is unmoved. He said Govt lacks approach which is based on consistency, clarity, conviction and creating only mess making people to suffer unnecessarily without any fault of theirs.
JKPCC leader said that Govt in a bid to demonstrate its powers and authority had resorted to such undemocratic move which was not in tune with the concept of liberal democracy. He said that BJP Government has failed to address political and developmental aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He stated that people had enough dose of mis-governance in the J&K for last seven years, saying people have realized that they have to support Congress which can address their issues and fulfill their expectations.