JAMMU: Exuding confidence that National Conference will beat its 1996 tally of 57 seats in the ensuing elections to Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, Provincial President Mr Devender Singh Rana on Tuesday said the party is poised to form a strong, stable and responsive government in the state, a statement issued here said.
“Given the support of the people, National Conference will improve and surpass its 1996 tally of 39 assembly seats in Kashmir, 15 in Jammu and three in Ladakh region”, Mr Rana said while addressing a press conference at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan here this morning.
He said, equipped with high degree of public good-will and robust booth level cadre National Conference will emerge with flying colours and serve the people and steering the state to peace, progress and development. The recent poll outcome in the three seats the party contested is testimony of the public support, which is available in immense measure in all the three regions. He slammed the BJP for twisting the statistics in its daily rants in the media, saying this speaks of it fear and frustration in the wake of imminent rejection by the people. In their enthusiasm, the BJP leaders are forgetting that National Conference did not contest the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Ladakh. “Therefore, they have no reason to celebrate over the so-called edge in some constituencies”, he said while reminding them the clean sweep National Conference registered in the three constituencies it contested.
“Jammu has suffered the most during the BJP’s over three years of misrule in partnership with the PDP and the sagacious electorate has firmed up resolve to teach the party a lesson by power of their votes for the betrayal”, Mr Rana said, adding that fear of defeat has unnerved the BJP leadership, which is why they are indulging in name calling and mudslinging. Political naivety and immaturity is hugely discernible in the BJP’s discourse, he said, adding that this does not augur well for the democratic polity.
Mr Rana advised the BJP leadership to come to age and go for extensive introspection over the failures in a sensitive state like Jammu and Kashmir, where it failed miserably in feeling the pulse of the people and assuaging their economic, developmental and political aspirations. He said the BJP leaders have exposed themselves during their stint in ministry, which cost the people hugely and pushed the state to uncertainty and instability.
“How long will you hide under the umbrella of central leadership and get on with misadventures, which touched dangerous proportions during over three years of misrule in the state”, Mr Rana asked and advised them to read writing on the wall and apologies to the people of Jammu for ditching them.
Mr Rana castigated the BJP for hoodwinking public opinion by generating euphoria over the issue of Chief Minister from Jammu, saying it betrays the truth as the party surrendered to the PDP by not insisting for a rotational CM in 2015. Last year, the BJP desperately pitched for forming the government by aligning and surrendering the Chief Ministership to two-member Kashmir based political outfit, he added.
“Why didn’t they talk of Jammu Chief Minister at that point of time”, he said, adding that lust for power can lead the BJP to compromise with the Jammu pride and dignity. By playing second fiddle to the two-member Kashmir based party, the BJP has insulted the Jammu psyche. He accused the BJP of committing the sin of undermining the understanding and political sagacity of the Jammu people.
The Provincial President dared the BJP to spell out just ten initiatives for Jammu’s growth during the party’s first and perhaps last tenure in the government between 2015 and 2018, saying the people of Jammu have a right to know this, as they gave it a huge mandate in 2014. He said the BJP will have to answer as to what happened to its much trumpeted recruitment drive for the border youth, construction of bunkers and allotment of five marla plots to border dwellers. Will the BJP say how many educated unemployed youth were provided jobs in their tenure; why the flagship projects of AIIMS and three Medical Colleges are still on papers; what happened to SMART City project why the implementation of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana could not take off; why Artificial Lake Project and Tawi River Front Project on the pattern of so-called Sabarmati Project did not materialize; why the party failed in regularizing the daily wagers and others despite a blue-print drawn by the previous Omar Abdullah led government. He asked as to why the BJP governments at the Centre and in the State reduced the one-time settlement of PoK refugees to paltry Rs 5 lakh per family instead of the recommended Rs 25 lakhs per family by the National Conference led government.
Mr Rana answered volley of questions on various subjects and said that National Conference is committed to setting up of regional councils for political empowerment of all the three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. He said this will end the sense of deprivation as people will be part of decision making and decide priorities on development and implementation of various welfare schemes. He said the National Conference leadership is also committed to women reservation in assembly. All these issues will be set in motion within one month forming the government, if the National Conference gets absolute majority.
Those present in the press conference included senior leaders Mr Surjeet Singh Slathia, Mr Abdul Gani Malik, Syed Mushtaq Ahmed Shah Bukhari,Th Rachpal Singh, Mr Rattan Lal Gupta, Th Kashmira Singh, Sheikh Bashir Ahmed, Mr Brij Mohan Sharma, Master Noor Hussain, Mrs Bimla Luthra, Haji Mohammed Hussain, Dr Gagan Bhagat, Mrs Deepender Kour,Dr Kamal Arora, Mrs Swaran Lata, Mrs Vijay Laxmi Dutta, Ch Haroon, Mr Anil Dhar, Mr Gurdeep Singh Sasan Mrs Satwant Kour Dogra, Mr Dharamveer Singh Jamwal, Mr Abdul Gani Teli, Mr Vijay Lochan, Mrs Rita Gupta, Mrs Dilshada Malik, Dr Tara Chand, Mr Som Raj Taroch, S Sandeep Singh, Mr Ashutosh Wali, Mr Shabir Sambyal, Mr Sain Dass and others.