Assembly election in J&K should be held soon after LS polls: Ghulam Nabi Azad

SRINAGAR — Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) chief Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday said Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir should be held soon after the Lok Sabha election as the people of the Union Territory cannot wait anymore.

He also said said Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood would be restored.

“We have been waiting for the Assembly polls for years. We hope that the polls take place immediately after the parliamentary election. I think the people of Jammu and Kashmir cannot wait anymore now,” Azad told reporters after a public meeting in the Chittergul area of this south Kashmir district.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, however, described the upcoming visMit of Election Commission (EC) officials to the region as “routine”.

“It is the job of the EC to visit states. This is not something new that they are visiting here. The EC starts preparing for elections months before in a state. This is routine,” he said.

The former Union minister said Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood would be restored.

He took a dig at National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah over the latter’s remarks on Azad targeting his father, NC president Farooq Abdullah.

Azad had recently said NC leaders meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi after dark.

“I do not know under what influence did Ghulam Nabi Azad target Farooq Abdullah,” Omar Abdullah told a press conference in Srinagar on Friday.

Azad said those who go on vacations for months together should not question him.

“I am in my senses 24 hours a day. Only those people do not remain in their senses who have time to take holidays. I do not go on vacations. I do not have time to take a holiday. For the first time in 18 months, I went to Gulmarg for half a day because a meeting was cancelled. Those leaders, who are on vacation for months together, what can they say?” he asked.

Asked about the split in the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), the former Congress leader said it was the concern of the constituent parties and “I have nothing to say about that”.

To a question on whether the split in the PAGD would benefit political parties like the BJP, Azad said people are clever and they understand which party or candidate to vote for.

“So it remains to be seen who will benefit or not benefit from it,” he added.

Asked whether he would contest the Lok Sabha polls, likely to be held in April-May, from the Anantnag-Rajouri seat, Azad said he has not decided yet. — (PTI)