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Dr Farooq seeks absolute majority to NC

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Pledges 33% reservation for women in Assembly

Jammu, Jan 17: National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah on Thursday sought a massive mandate for the party in the ensuing elections, saying a strong and stable government alone can steer Jammu and Kashmir to peace, progress and development.

“A government with absolute majority is answer to all the challenges confronting to the state,” Farooq Abdullah said while welcoming dozens of BJP and Congress workers in the National Conference fold at a function held at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan here this afternoon.

According to a party press release, Abdullah also referred to the role of women in development and said their political empowerment is necessary by ensuring reservation of seats in democratic institutions.

He said on being given absolute majority, NC will emulate some other states and have 33 percent reservations in Assembly for women.

He said that he was only yesterday told by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik about such a reservation being given to women in his state.

He said NC has worked towards women empowerment and referred to the allocation of 50 percent seats for them in the medical colleges.

He also said his party is striving for empowering youth and satiating the urges and aspirations of all the regions.

Referring to the “landslide victory” of NC in 1996, he claimed this brought about a “discernible transformation in the infrastructural development and turnaround in the situation”.

He said a massive effort was launched to build the damaged schools, put health services and other utility services back on track.

In 2000, he claimed his government provided a record 1.50 lakh jobs to educated unemployed and initiated various welfare programmes. “This all happened because of the strong and stable government,” he added.

Hoping that the people will contribute in bringing back normalcy by maintaining unity and strengthening the bonds of communal harmony, he cautioned against elements inimical to the single entity of Jammu and Kashmir and said all their machinations to create mistrust and hatred have to be foiled unitedly.

He assailed those day-dreaming about trifurcation of the state, and said a united Jammu and Kashmir is “crown of the country” which has to flourish as a single entity with dignity and honour.

He also decried exploitation of religious sentiments for political and electoral gains, and said the nation cannot afford to get fragmented into bits and pieces on the basis of religion.

He said elections were not to be fought on religion, as these provide an opportunity to put in place responsive governments which serve the people in terms of development and economic emancipation.

He advised “reactionary forces” to refrain from exploiting public sentiments, especially during elections, adding that the growing trend of dividing the people should be eschewed at all costs.

He also lamented the attempts of provoking people to fight over Mandir and Masjid issues for furthering political objectives and said India does not belong to a specific religion but it is a beautiful vase of flowers of different colours. The people of all the faiths have equal rights in secular India, he added.

“In the prevailing vicious atmosphere, National Conference has a challenging role to keep the flag of secularism high,” Abdullah said.

Stressing the need for generating conducive atmosphere for talks, he said India and Pakistan should work towards this objective.

Recalling the famous statement of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that “friends can be changed but not the neighbours”, Abdullah hoped that spirit will help both the nations to work for peace.

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