Asks workers to prepare for Panchayat polls
Jammu: National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Saturday asked party leaders and workers to start preparing for the panchayat polls and strengthen its units to thwart attempts to “split” the party.
This was the first visit of Abdullah to the party’s headquarters here after being re-elected as the NC’s president last month.
“We need not to wait for the announcement of the panchayat polls. We have to work hard from today and strengthen each of our units to defeat the opponents,” he told his party’s activists.
The elections were supposed to be held last year, but could not be conducted because of the 2016 uprising in the valley following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016.
The state government has failed to hold the panchayat elections this year, so far, after massive protests erupted during the by-poll in the Srinagar Parliamentary constituency on April 8 and the forced the cancellation of the by-election to the Anantnag Parliamentary seat.
The former chief minister said, “Attempts would be made to split the party once the panchayat elections draw closer.”
“There will be conspiracies to divide the people on communal lines and split us, but we have to remain alert and foil such nefarious designs. NC workers need to stand up at that time and safeguard everyone,” he said.
Terming panchayat polls as the first test of the NC, Abdullah said that the Jammu and Kashmir government is yet to take a decision on the elections as Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is making different statements about the state’s situation at different places.
“She is saying in Delhi that there is peace (in Kashmir), but on reaching Kashmir she is saying there is no peace and election is not possible. She knows very well that her brother will lose (the election from Anantnag parliamentary constituency),” he said.
He asked women leaders and activists to use 33 per cent reservation in each panchayat.
Abdullah accused the PDP-BJP government of failing to mitigate the sufferings of the people and said the NC strongly believes in unity of the people.
“Our slogan is Hindu-Muslim-Sikh-Christian unity and we will work in accordance with it to take the state to new heights,” he said.
Referring to his recent visit to various areas along the Line of Control in north Kashmir, including Teetwal and Machil, he said people are facing lot of problems due to failure of the government to provide better roads, communication and electricity facilities.
“They too are citizens of India. I want to ask the government to reach out to these people of these places instead of making mere statements and development claims,” he said, adding that despite the “step-motherly” treatment by the government, the people are happy with India and do not want Pakistan.
“They are still looking at this country, they are saying that we are not Pakistanis and do not want Pakistan,” he said.
Abdullah said he would work and fight for the rights of the people till his last breath.
“Before going away, I want to see the people of the state prosperous and living in communal harmony,” he wished.
The NC leader said that his party had passed the autonomy resolution, but would also work to ensure regional autonomy in accordance to the wishes and aspirations of the people. “The National Conference will make it happen,” he said.
He also criticised the state government for implementing Goods and Service Tax (GST) and said they have surrendered the financial autonomy to the government of India as well.