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CPI(M) won’t contest LS polls in J&K to consolidate votes against BJP: Tarigami

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Srinagar: Senior CPI(M) leader in Jammu and Kashmir M Y Tarigami on Tuesday accused the BJP of resorting to dictatorship and said his party would not contest in the Lok Sabha seats in the Union territory to consolidate votes and get rid of “tyrants”.

He sought to downplay the reported bickering within the Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) constituents over seat-sharing for the Lok Sabha polls, saying it is not an electoral alliance and every constituent has their own political interests.

“We will not contest (the Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir) directly. Our political approach in today’s times would be to defeat the BJP, to stop them from forming a government. They have already done a lot of damage to Jammu and Kashmir,” Tarigami told PTI-Video in an exclusive interview here.

“We also appeal to other political parties to ensure that votes do not get divided. We hope we get rid of the tyrants soon,” he said.

Asked about reports suggesting the coming together of the Ghulam Nabi Azad-led Democratic Progressive Azad Party, Altaf Bukhari’s Apni Party and Peoples Conference headed by Sajjad Gani Lone, Tarigami questioned the move and said, “We should have been loyal towards our people.”

“They are stitching together a grand alliance. Against whom? I would have welcomed it had this alliance aimed at raising the genuine concerns of the people such as our statehood, and our land rights. What the present government did with us does not have a precedence in the history of Kashmir.

“Keeping differences aside, we should have been loyal towards our people at least. It should have been a fight for the rights of people,” the CPI(M) leader said.

He said it was unfortunate that Jammu and Kashmir has always been in the crossfire and there has been restlessness among its people.

“Pakistan has been making its own claims and our country, India, has been making its own claims. There has been a restlessness among people. The successive governments have also not been loyal towards the people of Kashmir.

“Today’s government left no stone unturned to demolish the very foundation of the pact between the Centre and the people. We have always been deprived of our constitutional rights. They (BJP) eroded Article 370 also,” Tarigami said.

The CPI(M) leader said, “If BJP had a clear roadmap, they would not have resorted to dictatorship. They downgraded Jammu and Kashmir into a Union territory. Look at the plight of government employees here. They are not even allowed to protest… Do you think people will show support towards BJP?”

Tarigami, who is also spokesperson of the PAGD, said it is not an electoral alliance and every constituent has their own political interests.

PAGD is an alliance of five political parties — National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, CPI(M), Awami National Conference and CPI — seeking the restoration of the special status to Jammu and Kashmir which was revoked with the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019.

“The DDC (District Development Council) elections were fought together despite the differences… Jammu and Kashmir had its own constitution but that’s gone now. Our flag is gone, our land rights are gone, our permanent residency rights are gone. Statehood is also gone.

“Jammu and Kashmir is the only place where assembly elections have not taken place in the last 10 years. A state was divided without taking into consideration the aspirations of the people. Whatever statements the constituents have given do not change the very idea of PAGD. It will always be relevant,” he said.

Tarigami said there are disagreements even among leaders of the BJP.

Terming electoral bonds a “big scam”, he hit out at the BJP and said, “If you want to do corruption, do not do it in the name of law. We (CPI-M) have not taken even a single penny (through electoral bonds).

“In fact, we were the first ones to file a petition against electoral bonds in the Supreme Court. People should not take much time to understand what is going on in the country these days,” he said.

On the arrest of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren in different corruption cases, Tarigami said, “The constitution is under attack. There is an assault on democracy. If you want to weaken or break a party, ED and CBI are there. These agencies do the needful for the government. If a person is corrupt, he joins the BJP.”

Asked about the recent statement of Home Minister Amit Shah that the Central government will consider revoking the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Jammu and Kashmir, he said the present government has been “relying on ‘jumlas’ (false promises) only”.

“Shah had said that first there would be delimitation, then elections and then statehood. What happened to that chronology? If the environment (in J&K) is feasible for Lok Sabha elections, then why not for assembly polls? You must be knowing about the Pathribal, Machil and Shopian (fake) encounters. We all condemned the impunity that was given to the forces. We do not need these draconian laws in a democratic setup,” he added.

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