Stressing that assembly elections must be held in Jammu and Kashmir on due date, former chief minister and Rajya Sabha member Ghulam Nabi Azad Friday stated that the coalition in Jammu and Kashmir would complete its full term in office.
In an exclusive interview with KNS, Azad maintained that elections in the state should be conducted on due date as the massive measures for the rehabilitation and rebuilding of the flood torn areas of the state will be taken in the month of March- April next year by the next dispensation. “It is important to conduct elections in the month of January so that the next government could speed up the measures of rehabilitation after the winter months are over.”
However, Azad was quick to add that at present concentration must be on the relief and rehabilitation activities and that all the government machinery must prioritize the efforts for the same. “I believe that we should concentrate on relief activities and we have much time later to think about polls. Also the governor’s rule, if imposed, would hamper the relief activities, therefore, elections must be conducted during the tenure of the present government,” remarked Azad.
The former chief minister also maintained that 80 per cent of the population hit by floods was rescued by the local youth who endangered their lives to save others. “We all must salute the courage of youth who risked their lives, made temporary boats and went into the flood waters to save people in thousands. As the NDRF also did a remarkable job but the courage displayed by the youth is laudable.”
Azad also castigated the Government of India for ‘snail’s pace’ rehabilitation measures being taken in the flood hit Jammu and Kashmir at present. He stated that the interest shown by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the initial period is contrary to the ground situation at present. Azad said that the leaders came here, made announcements and then went into the deep slumber. “No where could we see the serious approach of GOI in relief operations as I believe the political motives are behind this relief work.”
Azad also came down heavily upon the state administration, claiming that the officers at the helm in the midst of the crises were worried about their dear ones and not about the lakhs of common people who were hit by the catastrophic floods. “Honestly, I was much disheartened to observe that at the time when the state machinery had to care of all, the officers were worried about their own family men, friends and relatives. Also another unfortunate aspect is that the government servants are waiting for the orders to work. They used listen to the call of their conscience and work in unison to get state out of this havoc.”
Azad said that the people should keep vigil over such elements that are hell bent upon exploiting the present catastrophic situation in the state. “There are various elements present in our society that always are waiting for such catastrophic situation to emerge so that same could be exploited. People of state must keep an eye upon such people and parties who are fishing in the troubled waters at present. The money that is coming for the relief and rehabilitation must be spent in a proper and just way. Both ruling and opposition parties must prioritize the efforts so that funds could reach the affected homes.”
The senior Congress leader also remarked that various political parties are trying to politicize the present situation in the state and are trying to seek political benefits out. “One party thinks that if relief works are failed to be carried, it would affect the ruling party and will benefit the opposite ones. We have to change this attitude if we have to rebuild the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” Azad observed.
When asked about the allegations that NDRF and other teams adopted ‘pick and choose’ during rescue operations in various areas, Azad said that the army and NDRF performed remarkable job while carrying out the rescue operations. “The fact is that the rescue teams reached to the areas that were accessible for their large boats and heavy choppers. People should not feel that they adopted any pick and choose approach.”
Pertinently, Ghulam Nabi Azad is camped in Srinagar for the last over 20 days, supervising the relief operations being carried out at various flood hit areas by his party