The Bold Voice of J&K

Contesting LS polls to carry on fight for restoration of J&K statehood: Ghulam Nabi Azad

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SRINAGAR: DPAP founder Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday said he has decided to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls to carry on his fight for the restoration of statehood for Jammu and Kashmir and for the protection of land and job rights of its residents.

Ghulam Nabi Azad (File Photo)

Azad, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, will contest the Lok Sabha polls from Anantnag-Rajouri constituency, the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) announced on Tuesday.

Azad left the Congress in 2022, ending his five-decade-long association with the party, and floated the DPAP.

“There are speculations that statehood will be restored in Jammu and Kashmir but on the pattern of Delhi and Puducherry where the LG has to approve every decision made by the chief minister and his government.

“This is not acceptable to Ghulam Nabi Azad. Perhaps, it will not be acceptable to any Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Gujjar or Pahari of Jammu and Kashmir,” Azad told reporters here.

Azad said that while he had several reasons for contesting the Lok Sabha elections, safeguarding the jobs and land of the people of Jammu and Kashmir was his top priority.

“For that to happen, we need full statehood as the Assembly can then pass laws which will reserve the jobs only for the people of the state while the outsiders cannot buy land here,” he said.

Azad said he will use his experience and influence of 40 years as a parliamentarian to get full statehood for Jammu and Kashmir.

“I have fought for the people of the country in the Rajya Sabha whether it was the Congress government or the BJP government. I feel there is a need for another battle in the Lok Sabha,” Azad said.

The DPAP leader said after the abrogation of Article 370, he fought for one month.

“The result was that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah agreed to restore the statehood. I think this fight has not been taken to the logical conclusion,” he added.

Responding to National Conference leader Omar Abdullah expressing surprise at Azad’s choice of constituency to contest the polls, the veteran politician said, “This is my state. It would be wrong for anyone to say that you are an outsider… We are all Indians.”

“I contested my first election from Maharashtra, second and third elections also from Maharashtra… Omar was probably in school at that time.

“Here (J&K) we are talking about adjoining districts. I am not coming in anybody’s way. I have a political vision, I have a political cause to fight for. If anyone has difficulty due to that, what can I do?” he said.

On accusations that he can join hands with any party, including the BJP, Azad said, “Those who want to become slaves (of people) who look for refuge. I am the Ghulam of Nabi (Prophet) and do not need to go with anyone.” (PTI)

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