(Asian News Hub) – Once seen as a peripheral player, Peoples Conference has emerged as a major political force in Kashmir.
The party has emerged as the main challenge for National Conference on political landscape of Kashmir after “decimation “of Peoples Democratic Party and unimpressive” performance of Apni Party in its maiden electoral battle.
After BJP withdrew support to Mehbooba Mufti, Peoples Democratic Party has lost 18 members who were MLAs in the last Assembly of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir.
These members have either left the party or were expelled from it.
The Apni Party, which contested election on 170 seats in district development council polls, managed to win just 12 seats.
On the other hand, Peoples Conference emerge as the single largest party in two politically- significant districts of north Kashmir by winning five seats in Kupwara and three seats in Baramulla.
With joining of political bigwigs like former deputy chief minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig, former minister and two-time MLA Syed Basharat Bukhari, former MLA Peerzada Mansoor and ex-MLC Khursheed Alam, the party has managed to widen its geographical reach and strengthen its electoral prospects.
According to political observers, the party’s traditional votebank in north Kashmir and superb performance in the district development council polls has come as a major boost for it.
“Before 1987, only National Conference, Peoples Conference, Jamaat-e-Islamia and Awami Action Committee had votebank in Kashmir. While National Conference had pan-J&K presence, the other parties had influence in some pockets,” they said, adding that PC was the main opposition to NC in north Kashmir.
According to them, PC chairman Sajad Gani Lone has managed to expand the party after contesting 2009 Lok Sabha polls. “Lone himself has significant influence in six Assembly segments of north Kashmir.
The party general secretary Imran Reza Ansari has followers in different pockets of north and central Kashmir. He can influence outcome on the number of segments in these two regions,” they said.
A senior leader of PC said that joining of Muzaffar Hussain Baig and Syed Basharat has strengthened the party in Baramulla district.
“Baig has influence in Baramulla district as well as on Pahari votebank in different parts of Valley. Basharat has won both the Assembly elections, he contested from Sangrama after he joined politics,” he said.
The PC leaders are hopeful that they will be able to gain foothold in both central and south Kashmir after recent joining’s.
“We already had former MLA Zadibal Abid Ansari in Srinagar. Now with joining of former MLC Khursheed Alam, we will be able to expand the party in central Kashmir especially Srinagar district,” he said, adding that Mansoor’s entry in the party will help them to gain foothold in south Kashmir.
He said the party leaders Abdul Gani Vakil and Raja Aijaz Ali have sizeable influence in Rafiabad and Uri segments, respectively.
In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, National Conference got 2.79 lakh votes in Kashmir Valley, Peoples Conference 1.32 lakh votes and Peoples Democratic Party 83 thousand votes.
After flip-flop, National Conference all set to join delimitation process
Formal announcement soon after Sagar briefs party Chief Dr Farooq tomorrow
(Asian News Hub) – After two-day long hectic deliberations within the National Conference, the party is all set to announce its decision to join the delimitation exercise and the final announcement will be made by party chief Dr Farooq Abdullah tomorrow.
Reliable sources within the NC told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) said that party General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar chaired two crucial meetings of NC leaders at Nawa-e-Subh on Friday and Saturday. “The leaders discussed the threadbare possibility of participation in the delimitation process. Majority of leaders expressed their willingness to join the exercise stating that valuable suggestions from the NC will help the commission to frame an unbiased report,” sources, privy to the NC deliberations, revealed.
A senior party leader, who was present in the meeting said that there was nothing wrong in participating in the delimitation process. “We have a strong case and our participation will help prevent any sort of injustice. Any increase in the Assembly seats has to meet certain parameters like population, geography and area of the constituency,” he said, wishing not to be named. “In case, Commission goes in the wrong direction, we can at least resist. By staying away, we won’t be able to know what the Commission is upto. We will also ask the members of the Commission what they are up to and what assessment they have done. By asking this, we won’t be committing any crime as there is a freedom of speech guaranteed by the democracy of our country.”
NC General Secretary confirmed to KNO that he chaired two back to back meetings of party leaders.
“We discussed whether we should participate in the delimitation exercise. There is a consensus within the party and we will brief our party chief Dr Farooq sahab tomorrow (Sunday) about the same. After that, he will take the final call,” Sagar said.
The J&K LG Manoj Sinha had recently stated that participation of political parties in the delimitation process will help in ensuring timely elections and at the end the move will also help put up a good assembly.
It may be recalled that NC had publicly stated that it wouldn’t participate in the delimitation exercise as the move would “tantamount to accepting the events of 5th August 2019”—when the special status of the erstwhile state was abrogated.” However, some voices started emerging within the party slowly that supported participation in the process which later converted into a “majority view.” Sources in NC said that even those who were earlier opposing any sort of participation in the commission changed their minds and advocated “there was no harm in joining the process.”
NC vice-president Omar Abdullah had recently told reporters that the party had authorized Dr Farooq to take a call on whether to participate in the delimitation process. However, sources said the meetings chaired by Sagar was a move to build a consensus over the issue to avoid “any sort of internal bickering within the party at this crucial stage.”
Dr Farooq, who on June 24 attended an All Party Meeting (APM) in New Delhi, told reporters in Srinagar that the meeting was held in a very cordial atmosphere and “it was a first step towards starting a fresh political process in J&K.”
Sources said that one of the major reasons why NC seems to have softened its stand owing to many reasons and one of the primary reasons is that at this crucial juncture the party doesn’t seem to annoy New Delhi by staying away from the delimitation process. Soon after the APM on June 24, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had tweeted: “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.”
Sources in NC said that after getting a briefing from party General Secretary Sagar over the issue, Dr Farooq will make the party’s decision public late Sunday afternoon. The delimitation commission will arrive in J&K on a three-day visit from July 6 and meet all the political leaders and civil society members to get their feedback over re-drawing the boundaries of assembly constituencies in the J&K UT.
J&K leaders made their people proud in all party meeting: Sajad Lone
‘Will strive to create an enabling environment to facilitate New Delhi to deliver, Statehood should be restored now, delimitation process should be fair ’
(Asian News Hub) – Peoples Conference (PC) Chairman, Sajad Gani Lone on Thursday said all the leaders who participated in the recently held all party meeting in New Delhi on June 24, made their people proud.
Addressing a news conference, Lone, who was accompanied by Imran Raza Ansari and Basharat Bukhari, as per the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) Correspondent said, the participants from Jammu and Kashmir in the All Party Meeting made their people proud and reflected their pain in befitting manner.
He said it obvious that those who will go to New Delhi to represent people can never disrespect the sentiments of people. “I would give equal marks to all those who participated and spoke in the meeting,” he said.
“As on date, there are no winners or losers. It is a long process. We have to ensure that New Delhi delivers and we have to make an enabling environment for them to deliver and that cannot be done by rhetoric. India is a land of elections. There is an election after every six or eight months. Let us not resort to rhetoric and create an environment where delivery becomes difficult. If delivery becomes difficult or delayed, there is only one loser and that is the people of J&K,” he said.
Lone said his party will strive to create an enabling environment to facilitate delivery mechanisms.
Asked about the assurances over restoration of Statehood after elections, Lone said, “I would say that the Statehood should be restored now. Not as a matter of charity, but as a matter of right, it should be restored now. I wouldn’t link elections with statehood,” he said.
He further said that he wouldn’t boycott the elections. “I will not say that I will myself boycott the elections and the party will contest. We all are equal. I am not more moral than them” he said, adding that boycotting polls could be a trap to scare parties and facilitate their own people to win elections .
“There is a need to understand that boycotting elections has yielded no results. We should look at the other side as well .Keeping away the opponents could be a trap,” he said.
Replying to a query, he said that the party will participate in the Delimitation exercise if it is invited, saying that the process has to be fair within the regions and across the regions.
Other PC leaders Abid Ansari, Peerzada Mansoor and Muhmmad Abbas were also present in the news conference.
Won’t contest elections till Article 370 is restored: Mehbooba Mufti
Says killing militants may be successful operation, but not success of Govt, elections can wait, GoI should go ahead with CBM programs to take J&K people into confidence
(Asian News Hub) – A day after participating in All Party Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief, Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said that she will not fight the elections until and unless Article 370 will be restored.
As per news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), in an exclusive interview to a national television channel, Mehbooba made it clear that she will not contest in any elections till Article 370, scrapped by the central government on August 5, 2019, is restored.
However, she said that her party will contest the polls to ensure that the ground is provided to other parties, who cannot deliver as per the expectations of the people.
About yesterday’s meeting, she said that it was told by the chair that Statehood will be restored, but there was no clarification from the chair as to when the decision will be taken.
She said that there was a need to start with Confidence Building Measures (CBM) programmes in Jammu and Kashmir, saying that instead of going ahead with the elections, the government should have started CBM measures to take the people into the confidence.
“The people are quite disturbed and depressed. The siege in Jammu and Kashmir should be lifted,” she said.
She further said that the situation has not changed on the ground in Jammu and Kashmir, saying that the continuous unfavourable situation on the ground has forced the government to talk with ‘Gupkar gang’.
Mehbooba said that the promises done by the government after Article 370 abrogation have not fulfilled as there was no end to the militancy related incidents in J&K as well as the number of youth picking up arms.
“Killing militants may be successful operation for the security forces, but it cannot be success for the government. There is a need to think why the young men are picking up guns. We have to reach out to the people so that number of youth taking guns will be reduced,” she said.
She said that the talks were held in good atmosphere and Prime Minister gave patient hearing to the leaders and claimed that “Delhi ki Duri Door Karni Hai”. “I hope PM Modi means it and the people in J&K could heave a sigh of relief,” she said.
She added that people were not expecting elections and delimitation exercise from a meeting, they were expecting something different as they wanted to ensure that the government should stop making frequent decision, which are giving apprehensions that the measures are being taken to make geographical changes in J&K.
Mehbooba also stated that she pitched for the release of political prisoners and anyone booked under stringent charges can at least be shifted to local jails.
She said that the government should hold dialogue with everyone including Pakistan. “It is dialogue that led to ceasefire due to which people are heaving sigh of relief. Talks should also be held Pakistan on other issues like resumption of trade and other things,” she said.
She also said that the government should consider demands of Pakistani wives of Kashmiris, saying that either they should get citizenship rights or should be deported back to Pakistan.
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