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Exclusive: “The clear-cut one-point agenda of the alliance was to protect 35A”- Tanvir Sadiq

Arti Ghargi

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35A

“This government would form with a definitive cause, definite agenda that we will protect 35A,” Tanvir Sadiq said.

 

 

A political turbulence hit the Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday. In the last 24 hours, a lot transpired in the conflict-ridden state, from NC-PDP-Congress joining hands to form the government in the state to governor dissolving the assembly after not receiving Mehbooba Mufti’s letter due to “broken” fax machine.

While the governor today tried to justify his moves citing the possibility of an unstable alliance, the three parties termed his actions as a subversion of democracy.

As the political uncertainty looms over the Jammu and Kashmir we talk to Tanvir Sadiq, advisor to National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah.

Here are the excerpts:

 

Governor Satya Pal Malik had said that he did not receive the letter from Mehbooba Mufti because his fax machine was broken. Isn’t that a strange reason to not receive a letter?

 

“It is very funny and strange and it is even amusing. The fact that he could then send the dissolution letter through the same fax. So it has to be a very different fax which doesn’t receive a letter but can send the dissolution letter. I mean this is as amusing as it can get. The fact that he has taken oath on the second day of Eid, which was a holiday. When he came to Kashmir, he took oath on the Eid itself. So how today that everything else was there except that he didn’t receive the letter?”

 

National Conference had always demanded the dissolution of the assembly. Is it just a coincidence that the day NC-PDP-Congress were deliberating on an alliance, the announcement came from the governor?

 

“No. It is not a coincidence. It is a deliberate attempt. We had asked for the dissolution of the assembly for last five months and we’ve been vehemently demanding it. It looks like he did read the letter, he knew that there was a combination of three political parties, we had the numbers, we were close to around 56 and it was open in the media that we have sent the letter. In spite of that, he did not receive the letter. This itself means that there was something behind it. There was a trust deficit, as somebody said, that increased with this incident.”

 

You mentioned that there was something behind the governor’s hasty decision. Do you think there was pressure from the Centre?

 

“Of course. There is no denying that there was pressure from the centre.  In his statement, he said he had some apprehensions about horse trading. Now coming back to the point, the National Conference has 15 MLAs, Congress has 12 MLAs and PDP has 29 MLAs who were elected. Together we had a simple majority. There was another party, backed by the BJP which did not have the members but they were still claiming to have the numbers. The governor himself has to first investigate where does the money come from, who were being purchased and who all MLAs were involved? Because we had a clear majority, but the other party didn’t.”

“He said that the alliance would be unstable. But all the alliances are unstable. Isn’t it a fact that in the past the NDA, the UPA had cobbled a lot of parties together and had formed the government. It was not new that happened in Jammu and Kashmir.”

“Certainly there was some pressure on the governor to ensure that this government does not get formed. Because this government would form with a definitive cause, definite agenda that we will protect 35A.”

 

The National Conference demanded the dissolution of the assembly for 5 months. Then why did the party agree to give an unconditional support to the PDP?

 

“There are two-three reasons. One was the mess that was created by the people who were backed by the BJP. The bureaucracy and many other things were being dictated by some members who were claiming to form the government anytime soon. Secondly, 35A was scheduled for hearing in January. So we wanted a joint, strong counsel which would defend the official status of the Jammu and Kashmir. Previously, the standing counsel of the state government in his statement said that ‘This can be debated’. It meant that the state was not concerned about the special status. That is why it was clear-cut one-point agenda to protect 35A and even the National Conference said that we will support the government from outside. It is a clear agenda and not about anything else. After the hearing, we will decide on the continuance. However, the fact is we wanted to protect the special status was the reason we wanted this government to come in.”

 

If the assembly elections are conducted in the state, will the National Conference contest (given the party had boycotted civic polls)?

 

“We have been very clear that we will not boycott the assembly elections. Because the government of the time related the civic elections with 35A, we boycotted the elections. And for the same 35A, we wanted a strong government to defend it in the Supreme Court. Now that it is not, we will come back because National Conference has got some very renowned lawyer to defend article 35A. Hopefully, when the next government comes in the state, they will defend it more strongly too.”

 

Has BJP failed the Kashmir?

 

“Of course, they have. Even coming back to the status of 2014 would be a great task, leave the previous status of the state. But coming back to 2014 where assembly elections were held and people voted in 70%, the urban and rural population was voting, people were campaigning every nook and corner of the state. Today, you have a municipal election where you have to protect those people, huddle them into a hotel where people don’t even know who is the candidate. You see, where we have come. They have not only failed but they have taken us back to what it was in the 90s.”

 

If the situation in Kashmir is so worse, how will be the people’s response if assembly elections are held?

 

“We had Panchayat elections and thankfully there were no killings taking place. So now we are hopeful that assembly elections and parliament elections, in case, can be held together. It looks like that. It is for the state government than to ensure peaceful elections. But the truth is, any government that comes to power after the elections would have a herculean task to get back things to normal and bring a semblance of normalcy in place.”

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Naveen Patnaik not interested in Odisha’s development: Yogi Adityanath

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adityanath

Bhawanipatna/Nachuni (Odisha) | Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday said his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik has “betrayed the people” as he is not interested in the development of the state.

Addressing party workers at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district and later at Nachuni in Khurda district, Adityanath called for a change in the state government to make Odisha prosperous.

He said Odisha can also develop like Uttar Pradesh if a BJP government is installed in the state.

“Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is not interested in the development of the state, rather in his personal agenda. He (Patnaik) has betrayed the people of Odisha,” Adityanath said and called up the people to end the 19-years of BJD rule in order to make the state prosperous.

He criticised Patnaik for not implementing the Centre’s popular welfare schemes like Ayushman Bharat and PM-Kisan.

“The poor people have been deprived of the benefits being given by the BJP-led central government,” the UP CM said.

Slamming the Odisha government for its alleged inefficiency, the firebrand BJP leader said the Naveen Patnaik government has constructed only 17 lakh pucca houses for the people in the last 19-years of its rule while the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has provided 20 lakh houses to the poor in less than two years.

“If the BJP is given a chance to form the government in Odisha, the state will witness quick development like Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

Odisha will witness the state as well the national elections in a few months.

While lauding the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme, Adityanath said Odisha government’s KALIA yojana has no stability and is shrouded in corruption from the beginning.

“While the UP government has so far identified 1 crore beneficiaries for PM-Kisan, Odisha government has not prepared its list,” Adityanath alleged.

The UP CM also criticised the Odisha government for taking credit in providing rice to poor people at Rs 1 per a kilogram for which “bulk of the finance was borne by the Centre”.

While the BJP-led central government is contributing Rs 29 for one kg of the subsidised rice, the Odisha government’s share is mere Re one, he claimed.

In his speech at both the places, Adityanath showered praise on Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan for his work and said Ujjawala Yojana had provided 12 crore new LPG connections in the last four-and-half-years, more that what was achieved since Independence.

Adityanath also flayed the opposition for making fun of the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).

“When subsidies under the Ujjwala Yojana started getting credited to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries, they (Opposition parties) understood the PMJDY’s importance,” he said.

The BJP government’s agenda is development for all, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, he said, adding that Odisha has a crucial role to play in the upcoming parliamentary elections to make Narendra Modi Prime Minister for the second time.

He asked party workers to put up a spirited effort to replicate BJP‘s success in the state as they have done during the 2017 panchayat elections.

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India objects to Pakistan’s use of abusive language at ICJ

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India-Pakistan

The Hague | India on Wednesday strongly objected to the abusive language used by Pakistan’s counsel in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), urging the UN court to draw a redline.

Harish Salve, the former solicitor general of India while presenting India’s case before the ICJ, drew the court’s attention to the abusive language used by Pakistan through its counsel Khawar Qureshi on the second day of the hearing.

“The language echoed in this court… perhaps this Court may lay down some redlines. The transcript is peppered with words such as shameless, nonsense, disgraceful… India takes exception to being addressed in this fashion in an international court.

“India strongly objects to abusive language of Pakistan’s counsel,” Salve said as the International Court of Justice began the second round of public hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.

Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India.

On Wednesday, India will have a maximum of 90 minutes to submit its final arguments in the case. Pakistan will also get 90 minutes to respond to India’s arguments on Thursday.

The ICJ is expected to deliver its verdict in the summer of 2019.

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Govt created situation where calls of violence against Kashmiris being openly executed: Yechury

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Sitaram Yechury

New Delhi | CPIM general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday alleged that the government has “tacitly and overtly” created a situation in which calls of violence against Kashmiris were being given and executed.

In a Facebook post, he said the terror attack in Pulwama, in which 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives, was a result of “colossal failure of politics” in the state.

“Instead of fixing responsibility, upholding the basic democratic norm of accountability, we see that the Modi government has misused the support given by the political opposition to bring the perpetrators of this heinous terror attack to justice, to hide its failures.

“It has tacitly and overtly created a situation where calls for violence against Kashmiris, who are as much a citizen of India as any RSS member, are being openly given and executed. This is shameful, undemocratic and blatantly ‘anti-national’ politics from BJP-RSS,” he said.

He said there should be accountability and fixing of responsibility for the loss of lives.

“Particularly when the J&K governor talks of intelligence failure. In 2008, after Mumbai terror attack, the Union home minister and the Maharashtra chief minister had to resign. The current establishment cannot hide behind the coffins of our martyred jawans,” he said in his post.

Yechury claimed that the number of local militants has risen during the tenure of this government and alleged that the number of deaths of both civilians and security forces has also risen during this period.

“In playing petty politics, the Modi government has finished all middle ground in Kashmir and strengthened the militancy. Who is accountable for the mess now? BJP governors speak of boycotts of Kashmiris? Will this enable normalcy to return,” he asked.

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