Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senior leader and former minister Tariq Hamid Karra on Saturday said his defeat in 2008 assembly elections was engineered by a hawkish section from Delhi to Kashmir. Few days ago Karra was nominated by PDP as the party candidate for the forthcoming parliamentary elections for Srinagar constituency schooled to be held next year.
In an exclusive chat with KNS, the form minister for finance and planning observed some hidden hands from Delhi to Srinagar played their role in ensuring his defeat in Batmaloo constituency in 2008 Assembly polls.
Asked, why did they do so? Karra said: “I had raised my voice against the political and economic injustices being meted to Kashmir and Kashmiris. The rigging of 2008 assembly polls in Srinagar in general and Batmaloo in particular was even brought into the notice of then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh by my colleague Muzaffar Hussain Beigh during the former’s visit to the state in June 2010.”
He alleged that there was a section in civil and police administration in the state who were used to manipulate and create an atmosphere for rigging in 2008 assembly elections in Srinagar particularly in Batmaloo. “Let me today reveal something to you. You will be surprised to know that some officers from civil and police administration whose services at that time where utilized for rigging polls in Srinagar later approached me and apologized for being instrumental in engineering my defeat from Batmaloo.”
When asked to name these officers, the former minister said: “Naming them will be unethical. But you take it as a gentleman’s word that they came to me and said we apologize.”
Karra said he is sure that now the people in Srinagar have grasped the whole manipulations and its result on their day to day life. “This time the emancipated voters of Srinagar won’t allow that to happen again. The electoral maneuvering in Srinagar has led to systematic political and economic dis-empowerment of its inhabitants. I would just request the voters in Srinagar Parliamentary constituency to differentiate the political character and the performance shown by the two parties.”
Asked about the brief period of his estranged relations with the PDP, Karra said: “Let me tell you that my nomination as the party candidate for forthcoming parliamentary elections speaks for everything.”
Asked about any pockets of concern within his parliamentary constituency that he think can change the results in forthcoming elections, Karra said he is very optimistic that people will vote for him this time keeping in view their sufferings. “The people of the whole state have suffered so badly in the hands of the present dispensation that they are waiting for the occasion to come when they will vote for the change and for the good cause and they will never ever allow any engineered results. They have understood that it is not Delhi that can bring the change or who can engineer the change and had it been so they could have done that in Bihar, Chhattisgarh or UP. Kashmiris are very closely monitoring the elections being held in India and they have understood what is what.”
Asked about the main differences between PDP’s governance and the working of present dispensation, the former minister said that PDP in its brief tenure had addressed almost every issue raised by the government employees while as the present dispensation has adopted an anti employee policy right from the day it took reins of power in the state.
Where do you think the National Conference has failed in its promises? Karra said: “They were voted for electricity, water and roads. It was Omar Abdullah on November 19, 2008 when he said in Ganderbal that I will bring down the tariff of electricity if I come to power. In Srinagar he said ‘meter hataw heater lagav’, today I think six times the electricity tariff has been increased . In our times we had meters in some areas and we had told those areas that they will pay according to the electricity they consume; today the metered areas have no regular electricity. The essential commodities are missing. Look at the rampant corruption; it is the order of the day.”
On the recent BOPEE paper leakage scam, the former minister said: “NC had earlier said that corruption is under the table. It is now over the table and recent BOPEE scam is there. Who employed them and reemployed the corrupt men. Who gave them extensions? We have been saying that one side you have been denying the employment of youth and this year you have employed 300 odd people. They are employing dead wood and each of this dead wood is getting lakhs of rupees as perks. Instead of giving employment to people with low academic qualification that NC had promised, it is retrenching the people who were already in service and bringing this dead wood back. This time people of Kashmir need to get educated and they have experienced and that I am sure that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are waiting for the change to come.”
On Kashmir issue, Karra said his foremost priority is to make public opinion that PDP or the people of Jammu and Kashmir stand for the friendship between India and Pakistan. “It is our priority to make public opinion that the resolution is impetrative as said by the towering personalities of India that we can change our friends but we cannot change our neighbors.”
He said that he will strive for the injustices meted to Kashmir on political and economical fronts. “I will strive for the yard sticks, justices of Indian democracy. We have many times seen in their actions and in their utterances that different yard sticks are being applied outside the state of Jammu and Kashmir. I will strive for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir and most important that I will make India believe that the youth of Jammu and Kashmir are not hostile youth and that they need the support.”
Karra said people need to generate the positivity of the youth of Jammu and Kashmir. “Our youth is so much talented that they have excelled in every field. I will strive for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir, the youth is our backbone. PDPs power is youth. In every political framework youth have bring the revolution. I will stand for the betterment and upliftment of youth.”
The PDP senior leader said that if voted to Parliament, he will struggle for the return of the resources of Jammu and Kashmir that have been rocked. “People have to make difference between the people who sacrificed Kashmir and those who sacrificed for Kashmir. I would like to remind here that the tallest leader of national conference when got elected to parliament said when Kashmir was burning in 2010 ‘kashmir ko goli maro’ and contrary PDP was with the people at that time when Kashmir was burning. They were shoulder to shoulder with the people of Kashmir.”
He said the PDP had started a political process bringing India and Pakistan on talking table and tried to act as a bridge between the two estranged neighbors, as against the rhetoric’s played by NC whereby they would always try to bring India and Pakistan to eye ball to ye ball situation. “NC would even provoke both the countries to resort to hostilities to resort to hard hitting statements and would always even get the desired results out of that. Why would they do it? I feel that NC has always thrived on hostilities between India and Pakistan and it is amply clear to people here and in the country that NC thrives on political and economic uncertainty.”