Srinagar: The political leadership of Jammu and Kashmir has to create an enabling environment to ensure the Centre delivers on its promises, Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone said on Thursday as he expressed hope that the recent all-party meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi would start “a phase of reconciliation”.
Addressing a press conference here, Lone said every leader spoke in favour of the people in the meeting, the first such exercise after the Centre abrogated Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 and bifurcated it into union territories in August 2019.
“Everyone spoke well and I will give equal marks to all. As on date, there are no winners and losers. It is a long process. We have to ensure that Delhi delivers and we have to make an enabling environment for them to deliver and that cannot be done by rhetoric, he said.
He said his party will strive to create an enabling environment to facilitate delivery mechanisms by New Delhi.
“We have to learn that by rabble rousing, by rhetorical statement, maybe we are able to address our constituents, but then you see what difficulties the people have passed through over the last two years. So I would have thought as one of the parties who was there, we will strive to create an enabling environment to facilitate delivery mechanism by Delhi,” he said.
“The people of J-K would be the only losers if the delivery of the promises becomes difficult or if it is delayed,” Lone said.
“India is a land of elections. There is an election every six months. Let us not by our rhetoric create an environment where the delivery becomes difficult and if the delivery becomes difficult or if it is delayed, there is only one loser and that is we the people of the state of J-K, he added.
The PC chief said as the engagement with New Delhi was an ongoing process, propriety demands that they do not divulge in details about what transpired in the meeting.
“All we can say is that we welcome the meeting. It was held after more than two years of upheaval. The leadership demands we look towards the future for a bright tomorrow rather than something in the recent past which we don’t agree with. We hope it starts a phase of reconciliation between Delhi and Srinagar,” he said.
Asked what are the issues he raised, Lone said, “There is some propriety of such a meeting. There was the honourable PM, the honourable HM, they sent out three tweets and ended it. Unfortunately, we have diarrhea of words that we continue to speak. We have to keep quiet sometimes.”
“I, as a Kashmiri and not as a political leader, felt proud of all the leaders there. They spoke for the people of J-K. They reflected their pain in a befitting manner, he said.
To a question about the timeline for restoring the statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, Lone said while he cannot recall such a timeline being shared in the meeting. “Left to me, I would say the statehood should be delivered now, not as a matter of charity, but as a matter of right,” he added.
“I saw the tweet (of the Union Home minister Amit Shah) and that is his opinion. But when we were in the meeting, I do not recall that timeline. I would not link elections and statehood,” he said.
After the meeting in Delhi on June 24, Shah tweeted, “We are committed to ensure all round development of J&K. The future of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed and the delimitation exercise and peaceful elections are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in Parliament.”
The PC chairman said some were calling for boycott of elections, but the people of J-K should understand that it can be a trap to scare away the good people .
“Those saying boycott, to be very honest, we boycotted for 15-20 years. What if it is a trap to scare away all the good people and get their own people? Look at the other point of view also. People are ours and we seek votes from them.
“Now, if the opponents create conditions for you not to enter the fray, think of it for a moment that it can be a trap. That is all I can say. I am not saying it is a trap under any circumstances. But, the leadership has to look at both the sides…not give a knee-jerk reaction,” he said.
Apparently referring to PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s announcement that she will not contest the elections till Article 370 was restored even as her party will, Lone said if his party contests, then he too will as he was not superior to other leaders in his party.
“If we (party) contest, then I will also. It is not like that I am important than anyone else that I will not contest but others will. We all are alike. I am not more moral than them. I am not superior to them. If something is ‘haram’ (forbidden) for me it is ‘haram’ for them too,” he said.
To another question about the participation in the proceedings of the Delimitation Commission, Lone said his party will participate in the exercise if it is invited.
But the process has to be fair, he added.