Parties Issue Gag Orders As Deadlock Continues

SRINAGAR:  Amid prevailing chaos and hung assembly in JK,  political parties here continue to censure their respective leaders not to issue any policy statement to press.

The Peoples’ Democratic Party was the first to take plunge. As it emerged as the single largest party in the state after the state elections of 2014, the hung assembly continues to be the worst worry of this regional party with NC and Congress offering its unconditional support to it.

The PDP president Mehbooba Mufto while issuing a statement on December 27 said no other party leader is allowed to issue any statement to press at present and that only the chief spokesman Naeem Akhtar is authorized to articulate the party’s views in the media on the policy matters.

Mehbooba made it clear that the statements of the Chief Spokesman should be taken as the stated position of the party on various policy issues. “In the prevailing hazy political scenario, unqualified comments in the media only add to the confusion and fuel wild speculations,” she said and added that as a responsible political party PDP will take not only its cadres but the people of the State on board before arriving on any decision regarding the future course of action.

“I want to assure my party cadres and the people that whatever decision is to be taken will be taken in the larger interest of the State and its people,” she said and added that the mandate given by the people to the PDP to represent the political aspirations and economic interests of all the regions and sub-regions of Jammu and Kashmir would be represented and valued in adequate measure.

A day after, Congress came forward and declared that no other Congress man other than state Congress chief Saif-ud-din Soz will issue statements for publication in media houses. Congress Sunday said only the state party chief, Saifuddin Soz is authorized to issue any statement to the press on behalf of the party.

The party chief spokesperson, Ravinder Sharma has also been authorized to speak occasionally for the party with Soz’s approval.

“Congress General Secretary and party in-charge J&K, Ambika Soni and Leader of Opposition (Rajya Sabha) Ghulam Nabi Azad will always speak for the party particularly for issues related to J&K as they like,” the party statement said.

Vice President J&K Pradesh Congress Committee, Muhammad Muzaffar Parray said: “Prof. Saifuddin Soz has cautioned party cadres that none other than him should issue any statement to the press on behalf of the party.”

Meanwhile, national conference authorized NC General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, Provincial President Jammu Devender Singh Rana, Provincial President Kashmir Nasir Aslam Wani and Spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu to speak on behalf of the party on policy issues including the post-assembly-polls policy and stands of National Conference. “Statements made by these authorized office bearers alone will represent official statements from the party. Statements made by all other respected party leaders including legislators-elect of the party should be taken to be made in their respective personal capacities”.

“NC has made its stand known. All party leaders and legislators have contributed their valuable views and these views have converged towards formulating stands taken by the party leadership and the core group on various issues. Those authorized to speak for the party will be available to the media – including electronic media and TV channels – to elaborate on the party policy. The statements, remarks of these authorized leaders alone should be taken to represent official communication from the party. The Party General Secretary will coordinate briefings among those office bearers who have been authorized to speak on behalf of the party”, NC Working President Omar Abdullah added.

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