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Ongoing elections an opportunity to amplify region’s voice in parliament: Mufti

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Asks people to vote for her

Bijbehara: As she prepares for the May 25 electoral challenge from the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti Thursday said these elections are an opportunity to amplify the region’s voice in the parliament.

She also emphasized the necessity of expressing dissent against the “disempowering events” that have unfolded since August 5, 2019.

Talking with the media at the grave of her father, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, here, the PDP chief said “I come to this place whenever I feel alone and always wish my father was here with me. I sit beside his grave and gather my strength.”

Her father, a former chief minister of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state, died in 2016.

Despite facing political challenges since the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in 2019, Mehbooba Mufti briefly touched upon the May 25 elections while at her father’s gravesite.

She also took the opportunity to draw attention to her political adversaries, particularly the National Conference, criticising their historical role in the region’s affairs.

“From 1931, the National Conference has been part of all accords — I won’t call them agreements, I will call them surrender — and decisions with regard to Jammu and Kashmir. The situation we are in today, the problems we face are all because of them,” Mufti said, emphasising her perspective on the region’s political landscape.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) formed a government in the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state in an alliance with the BJP in 2015. The saffron party withdrew support from the government in 2018.

Discussing the PDP’s past alliances and achievements, Mufti highlighted its endeavour towards dialogue and resolution.

She remarked, “We made them (Centre and BJP) agree to talks with regard to the resolution of the Kashmir issue — talks with Pakistan, talks in Jammu and Kashmir, removal of AFSPA, protection of Article 370.”

However, the PDP chief failed to answer how her alliance could protect Article 370, which was abrogated by the Centre on August 5, 2019, besides downgrading the state into a Union Territory and bifurcating it into two.

Expressing optimism over the voter turnout in south Kashmir, Mufti anticipates a substantial participation compared to Srinagar and Baramulla, signalling her hope for a successful electoral outcome.

While highlighting  the “political maturity and foresightedness” of people of Jammu & Kashmir, Mufti cited the significant voter turnout in the Srinagar and Baramulla parliamentary polls as evidence of the current “suffocation felt by the people”. She highlighted the plight of thousands of Kashmiri youth imprisoned outside the region, whose parents struggle to navigate the legal system. “This election is about those youth – to get them freed,” she asserted,

Mufti emphasized the importance of high voter turnout, warning against efforts by the BJP and its allies to suppress voter participation. “The BJP-led dispensation and its henchmen in Kashmir are trying hard to make people stay away from polling as they are well aware the votes would go to the PDP alone,” she said.

While answering a question, she pointed to NC’s current actions as evidence of their “betrayal” and said that she always trusted Dr Farooq Abdullah, but they betrayed that trust and declared that PDP has vanished from the scene.

“This is their approach towards the unity of political parties for the greater fight. We had nourished the PAGD for four years, and NC bulldozed it in one go. I was hoping that Farooq Abdullah Sahab would take the decision as the head of the conglomerate, but he didn’t. He decided as NC president and didn’t rise above party politics for the greater cause,” she said.

She appealed to people of the constituency to come out in huge numbers and said that this vote at this time will stand against the 2019 decision and a “clear message that we demand our rights back”. (With additional inputs from PTI)

KI News

Kashmir Images is an English language daily newspaper published from Srinagar (J&K), India. The newspaper is one of the largest circulated English dailies of Kashmir and its hard copies reach every nook and corner of Kashmir Valley besides Jammu and Ladakh region.

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