Rulers Forced Poll Boycott in Kashmir: Baig

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Srinagar – Former deputy chief minster and senior People Democratic Party leader, Muzafar Husain Baig Saturday said the election boycotts had badly affected the situation and governance in the state resulting in loss of faith in democracy.

“Kashmiris have been compelled by rulers to boycott elections as they have lost confidence in elections and elected representatives. People’s non-participation in elections makes the situation worse,” Baig said, while addressing a gathering at Yunus near Sopore, a pro-freedom hotbed.

Lashing out at the National Conference, Baig said flip-flop was its basic characteristic and that his party’s stand had remain consistent.

“They (NC) took the stand for plebiscite and left it for power, then they raised pitch for autonomy and now Dr Farooq asks people to forget autonomy and focus on development. How can they accuse us of changing our stand?” asked Baig.

“Our stand has been resolution of Kashmir, repealing of draconian laws, dialogue with Pakistan and Hurriyat and economic empowerment of people and we stick to it”, he said.

“We always talked about equitable development of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladalkh regions and cross LoC contacts and we stick to it”.

Reacting to National Conference’s statement that PDP had got frustrated and that ruling party would not give PDP an opportunity to regain power, Baig said, “Those who compromised everything for power are frustrated. We will get power from the people and not from India, Pakistan or Omar Abdullah. It is the people who will give us power”.

Baig asked people to unite and not get divided on the basis of sectarian, religious and political ideologies. “This was the paradise on earth but the social strife can turn this beautiful land into a hell. There is lack of unity and that is why our rights are being snatched”, he said.

Welcoming the fact that people who did not believe in electoral process came to listen to him, Baig said they had been disenchanted to see both pro and anti-accession people living luxurious lives. “If someone has suffered it is the 50,000 families whose children and bread earners have been killed during the past two decades,” he said, adding economic and social welfare was on top of the PDP agenda.

During PDP-Congress rule, he said, Rs 35000 crore package had been approved by the centre out of which Rs 18,000 crore were to be spent on power sector. “GoI had in principle accepted our demand for spending the money on the power sector by the state itself instead of NHPC, to enable tapping of 2000 MW generation capacity by now and we could have created employment avenues for 2 lakh youth apart from spending on the social sector.”

He alleged the incumbent government had failed to cash on the central schemes and had not been able to spend the money.

“The CAG report says there is fraud, misappropriation of funds and embezzlement in five departments including the one held by Omar Abdullah,” he said.

“The government has no dearth of resources what they lack in is commitment, ability and dedication. They just keep harping about AFSPA and have forgotten their main job which is proper governance”.

Asked what the strategy of the PDP would be in the upcoming assembly session, Baig said, “Legislature party will meet and decide on it and I can’t say what issues will be taken up”.

On the recent spate of personal attacks and degrading of politics, Baig said it is the National Conference which has recently been attacking the party patron, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, personally.

“Read their press statements. They personally attack Mufti Sahib but we are being patient. We can say what date what statement they said and what. We can also remind them of being a party to Babri Masjid demolition and what their leader says before Bal Thakray, but we want to discuss political and developmental issues and we don’t believe in personal attacks”, he said. (KNS)

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