Assembly polls in JK best CBM: Azad to Shah

Ghulam Nabi Azad

Accusing the BJP of running the state government from the capital under the garb of President's Rule, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday asked the Centre to conduct elections to Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, saying it will be the best confidence-building measure (CBM).

He also rubbished the Narendra Modi government's claims of zero tolerance towards terrorism, asking how the deaths of civilians and security personnel, as well as militant recruitment, are rising in the state.

Referring to BJP's criticism of first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru on his Kashmir policy, Azad said they can blame him for a number of things but it was because of him that Kashmir remained an integral part of India and this history "cannot be distorted".

Participating in the debate on extending President's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir and a bill to extend reservations to certain classes residing along the Line of Control, he said, "don't run the government from Delhi. The biggest CBM will be holding elections."

He said the "intelligent" advisors of the Governor cannot replace elected representatives. "You were part of the alliance for three years and running the state for another year. What have you done for confidence-building least do not alienate people...non-accountability leads to problems for people," he said.

He said the government was taking credit for the successful conduct of local body polls and the Lok Sabha elections in Kashmir but when it comes to Assembly elections, it is hesitant and talks about the security situation.

Suggesting that the Centre was hesitant to hold Assembly elections as it wants to run a government in Kashmir without accountability, he said elections were held in the state though there was militancy.

Azad said probably Amit Shah was the first home minister not to be greeted by black flags or hartal during his recent visit to Jammu and Kashmir.

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