J&K: Election A Mistake Before State Formation, Ghulam Nabi Azad Responds To Amit Shah’s Assurance

New Delhi: Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday urged the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Center to first grant statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and then hold elections, saying, “Don’t make the mistake of first delimiting and then giving statehood.” do”.

The Congress leader said that the politicians of Jammu and Kashmir had earlier demanded post-poll statehood during their meeting with Prime Minister Modi.

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“When Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited political leaders of Kashmir to his residence, I demanded that we want statehood after the elections. Other parties also demanded I told the PM and the Home Minister that earlier the state should not have been divided into two parts.

“Our demand remains that statehood should be given first and then elections should be held,” he said.

Stating that Jammu and Kashmir was better off as a state with different chief ministers before the abrogation of Article 370, the Congress leader said the state has lost a lot since its bifurcation.

“We were told that the scene in J&K would change after the abrogation of Article 370. Development, hospitals, unemployment will be taken care of. But that has not happened at all,” Azad said.

“So, we are a great loser. After the bifurcation of the state into two, we have suffered a big loss. We are a big loser since the dissolution of the assembly,” he said.

Expressing similar sentiments, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah also attacked the ruling government and said the Center has been “dishonest” with Jammu and Kashmir.

“It abolished Article 370 and 35A and made the region a Union Territory,” the former chief minister said, adding the National Conference would bring Articles 370 and 35A to power.

The remarks by the two leaders came a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir would be restored after the delimitation process and elections in the region.

“There will be delimitation, after that elections will be held and then statehood will be restored… I want to befriend Kashmiri youth,” he said at an event in Srinagar on Saturday.

read also: J&K: ‘Why delimitation should be stopped?’ Amit Shah on Centre’s roadmap to hold elections, restore statehood

Taking a jibe at political leaders in the Valley, Shah said the abrogation of Article 370 from the erstwhile state has brought democracy to the grassroots, which was earlier confined to a few families.

The Home Minister is currently on a three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir. This is his first visit to the Valley since the first abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.