Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday sought support of the people to take the Union Territory out of the shadows of “fear, unemployment and helplessness”. He was addressed a huge rally in South Kashmir’s Anantnag area, a traditionally militant bastion.
Azad said “I will not rake up emotive issues like “freedom”, “autonomy” or “self-rule”, but will only talk about issues which can be achieved. I am not like those leaders that I will play with your sentiments to win elections.”
Azad said, “There are two ways to become a leader — one by raking up emotive slogans and the other by talking only about those issues which are under his control. I will say you will get freedom. But, you will not get it. Have you got it from the last 75 years? I will say you will get autonomy or the self-rule, many elections were fought on these slogans, you have experienced, but there have been no results. Instead, they have only added to the death count. So, why should I raise such slogans?”
The veteran leader said, “If some people were promising the return of Article 370 which was scrapped by the Centre in August 2019 — “let them”, but I will not guarantee people something over which I have no control.”
Azad without naming National Conference and PDP said “What happened to the previous promises those people made? I can promise you development, I will ensure you have a dignified life, I promise you that no policeman or Army man will knock the doors of the houses of my Gujjar-Bakerwal or Kashmiri brothers in the dead of the night. I promise you that the children of poor or even
rich people will not be jailed and sent to Kathua or any other jail in the country for money. I promise you that no one will disrespect our sisters and daughters. The former Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister also promised that there will not be “fake” encounters.”
Ghulam Nabi Azad further said, “Because of my one dozen speeches in Rajya Sabha, I made the Prime Minister and Amit Shah ji to accept that they would return statehood. We will get statehood and when we get it, I would guarantee land and job rights to the people here.”
Azad said, adding “I cannot give you those guarantees which are not in my hand”.
Gulam Nabi Azad said I am perhaps the only politician in the country visiting the people first before forming a political party. He said, “Ninety-nine per cent people first form a party and then go to the people. I think I am the first person in the country or even the world, who is forming a party after meeting public delegations. My experience taught me that I should go to the people first, ask them if they will support me or not and then form a party,” Azad said.
Addressing his supporters, he asked them if they permit him to form a new political party, to which they replied in affirmative.
Azad said “Will you run the new party? Will you help in ascending it to power? Will you support my agenda of making a Khushaal Kashmir?,” Azad asked. The people responded “Zaroor” (surely).
The public meeting at Anantnag was the last scheduled part of Azad’s programme in J-K after he quit the Congress party on 26 August. He held a public rally in Jammu on 4 September. In Kashmir, he addressed his first public meeting in Baramulla on September 11 and also met various delegations which called on him during his stay in the Valley.