Azad rules out azadi for Kashmir

SHABIR AHMAD
Anantnag: India’s Health Minister and Congress candidate for Udhampur-Doda parliamentary seat, Ghulam Nabi Azad, on Monday said that Kashmir cannot separate from India.
“Some political parties have no policy or program. I keep on listening to separatists also. If they call Kashmir’s azadi or handing over of this region to Pakistan as a CBM (confidence building measure) I am sorry. That is not going to happen,” Azad told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Shangus area of southern Anantnag district.
Azad was replying to a question about pro-India politicians being greeted with shutdowns and protests in major townships of the Valley during their ongoing election campaigning.
Azad said that development and generation of employment were the ‘biggest CBMs’. “We are spending huge money for the development of the state. 19 thousand crore is being spent on the railway line here which is the world’s longest railway line. Crores of rupees are being spent on the education and health sectors. Besides, unemployment is being generated. These are the biggest CBMs,” Azad said.
Asked about Congress’s future relation with its alliance partner National Conference in the state, Azad said, “NC and Congress are allies since 1933. We treat NC as our unit in Jammu and Kashmir. No doubt this alliance breaks sometimes, but when it comes to defend secularism in the country we are united.”
He, however, refused to comment on the alliance between the two parties in assembly elections being held in the state later this year, saying “Congress will think over it later.”
Terming the ongoing parliamentary elections in India as “war between communalism and secularism,” Azad said, “This election is not just an election. It is the war between secularists and communal forces. People have to choose between the two. People have to save the nation from the forces hell bent on dividing the country.”
Azad said that BJP prime ministerial candidate, Narinder Modi has erased the party from the map. “There is no Modi wave. He has erased the party from the map and that is why everybody talks Modi. Earlier we used to abuse BJP but nobody asks about the party. Everybody talks Modi as he is the only man who remains there,” Azad said.