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Delay in Assembly polls in J&K scuttling federalism in country: NC

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Srinagar, Jun 29: National Conference Saturday expressed dismay over the statement of Union Home minister Amit Shah on the question of conducting Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the "inordinate delay" in holding the polls in the state is synonymous with "scuttling" federalism in the country.

It said the people are yearning for a stable government which could protect the identity and territorial integrity of the state.

"The central government led by BJP is persistent on ruling the state from the Centre. The move will prove detrimental to the structure of federalism in the country. The inordinate delay in holding assembly elections in the state is synonymous with scuttling federalism in the country," NC general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said addressing a series of workers' conventions at Rafiabad and Baramulla.

The NC leader, according to a party press release said on one hand, the Home minister minced no words to accentuate the peaceful conduct of urban local bodies and panchayat polls and Parliament elections in the state, but on the other hand, he is "denying" a representative government to the state.

"We heard the Home minister stressing on the need of strengthening grass root level democracy in the state. How can the dream possibly be achieved by delaying the assembly elections? The measure is fraught with undue politicking," Sagar said.

The NC general secretary said any further delay in having an elected representative government in the state would "further increase the gap between the government and the people".

"The youth of the state in particular stands disenfranchised due to the imprudent policies of the previous BJP-PDP government. The incumbent governor administration is proving equally inefficient. The absence of an elected government in the state has put the identity and integrity of the state on peril.

"Above and beyond, the development has been the prime causality as a consequence of election delay in the state," he said.

Speaking on the occasion, NC provincial president, Kashmir, Nasir Aslam Wani said Article 370 of the Constitution was "a solemn pledge of the constituent assembly of India to the state".

"If Article 370 is temporary, then the very edifice built on it is impermanent. The sordid assertions like these aiming at obliterating the identity will add to the disenchantment in the youth. The need of the hour is to strengthen Article 370 and Article 35-A," Wani said, reacting to Shah's statement over the issue in Parliament on Friday.

Shah had on Friday said Assembly elections in the state will be held in a democratic, free and fair manner as soon as the Election Commission announces the dates.

He had moved a statutory resolution in the Lok Sabha to extend President's Rule in the state for another six months with effect from July 03, which was passed by the House.

Shah had also said Article 370 of the Constitution, which extends special status to Jammu and Kashmir, is "temporary in nature" and "not permanent".

Wani said the main objective of the NC is to strive towards restoration of pre-1953 situation in the state.

"Ours is the only party that has already put forth vision towards solving the protracted issue of J&K. it is the restoration of autonomy that will clean the cob webs of mistrust between the Centre and the state. The need of the hour calls for making aggressive efforts towards increasing the prospects of peace and prosperity in the state," he said.

Senior NC leader Abdul Rahim Rathar said the NC is the only political dispensation of the state which boasts a panacea for varied problems of the state.

“The party’s autonomy resolution and the ‘Naya Kashmir’ programme afford an effective remedy for the issues concerning the state. The party will continue to strive towards achieving that end,” he said.

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