Set back to PAGD: NC gives clear indication to contest all 90 Assembly seats
Srinagar: The National Conference on Wednesday gave a clear indication that it will contest all the 90 seats in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly on its own and not in alliance with other members of the five-party PAGD alliance.
In a major political development ahead of the elections expected to be held after November this year, the Kashmir provincial committee of the party unanimously passed a resolution resolving that the National Conference (NC) “should prepare and fight all the 90 seats”.
Party vice president Omar Abdullah, General Secretary Ali Mohammed Sagar and virtually the entire leadership from the Kashmir region attended the meeting at the NC headquarters after which the resolution was passed.
Besides the NC, the Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), which was formed on August 4, 2019, comprises the PDP, CPM, Awami National Conference and CPI. During the 2020 District Development Council elections, the alliance contested and won 110 seats out of 280 with the NC winning 67 seats alone.
A party statement said the participants “expressed dismay over the recent statements, audio jingles and speeches made by some of the constituents of the PAGD targeting JKNC”.
The statement did not elaborate but participants are understood to have referred to some recent statements by the leadership of the PDP which is headed by former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti who has been critical of the NC of late.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Omar, who is the former chief minister of the erstwhile state, said that to protect Jammu and Kashmir’s identity it is imperative for the people to register as voters. He said the underlying principles guiding the party’s future course of action will be in line with JKNC’s basic stand and policies.
Denouncing the “unfair” treatment meted out to the NC in the PAGD, the participants at the meeting felt that it does not contribute to the overall unity of the amalgam and demanded immediate course correction from the alliance’s constituents.
Omar assured the participants that their concerns and the interest of the people and the party will be safeguarded and added that he will discuss the feedback from the meeting with the party president Farooq Abdullah.
During the hour-long meeting, there were threadbare discussions on the mounting apprehensions among the public with regards to the inclusion of 25 lakh new voters as claimed by the state CEO last week.
Alluding to the inclusion of 25 lakh new voters in Jammu and Kashmir, Omar said the entire matter begs clarity from the Election Commission of India.
“All this has triggered fears of demographic flooding and political disempowerment within the public. We are yet to ascertain if the final electoral rolls are also to include those ordinarily residing voters.
“Our concerns with regards to requirements for outsiders to get registered continue to remain unmet. The clarity provided by government quarters has failed to address our core concerns on the issue,” he said.
Omar said the people of Jammu and Kashmir are best equipped to defeat these nefarious designs by voting in huge numbers in the forthcoming elections, whenever it’s held.
“The remedy lies with our people, who if they choose to vote in huge numbers can thwart these attempts aimed at disempowering the people of JK. Therefore, people have to make it a point to come out and vote in huge numbers,” he added.