National Conference leader dangles ‘regional autonomy’ as poll promise.


Srinagar: The National Conference (NC) is aggressively trying to assert itself as a regional force in Jammu and Kashmir and has started a massive campaign in all the three regions of the state asking people to vote them to power in the next elections so that not only the state’s autonomy is “restored”, but regional autonomy is also granted to the people.

Party patriarch Farooq Abdullah has been very visible working in this direction. He is seen talking to the dissidents of all other political parties and has been able to bring them into the NC fold ahead of the Assembly elections in the state.

In the recent past, Abdullah has been very active and in command of his party. He has decided to remain the face of the party and has been instrumental in bringing many former lawmakers from PDP and BJP into his party.

Abdullah said that he will bring all like-minded politicians into his party fold.

He said that if his party musters a majority, he will not waste time in implementing the Regional Autonomy Committee report. All the three regions will get the maximum autonomy and all the sub-regions will also get maximum powers so that the freedom percolates down to the grossroot level, he added. Dubbing the Governor’s Rule as autocratic and demanding early elections in the state, he said that time has come for New Delhi to respect the sentiments of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He regretted that the civilian killings in Kashmir were igniting more protests and providing space for the “freedom” sentiments.

He was in Jammu on Thursday and promised before the media that within 30 days of being voted to power, he will give regional autonomy to all the three regions. He was speaking at an event organised there to welcome expelled BJP leader and former MLA Gagan Bhagat into National Conference.

Earlier in Srinagar, Abdullah garlanded two former PDP ministers—Syed Basharat Bukhari and Peer Muhammad Hussain—in the presence of the media. He said that he was continuing with his efforts to bring into his party fold many more former lawmakers from many other parties.

Abdullah seems to have sensed that if he remains the face of NC, more and more prominent political activists will join his party.

Sources close to the party circles told this reporter that all those former lawmakers who have joined NC were reluctant to join if his son Omar would have headed the party.