Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Friday released the party’s manifesto- ‘Parliamentary Elections: Agenda For Change’- for the upcoming parliamentary polls during a press conference at his official Gupkar residence. The main features of the manifesto are:
1) Parliamentary Elections for PDP is not about making alliances to be in power. Our role is to make the Parliament of India a forum for representing the “J&K issue” for debate and dialogue at the national level.
2) The trust deficit that exists today has been created because the regional parties of the state have not been able to use the Parliament as a forum for articulating the aspirations, highlighting the grievances, and voicing the insecurities of the people of J&K.
3) In the last 65 years, the Parliament has never deliberated on J&K in any substantive and serious manner. All the well-meaning announcements made by different Prime Ministers be it the P V Narasimha Rao’s “sky is the limit for autonomy”, or Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s “insaniyat kay dairay main” or Manmohan Singh’s “making borders irrelevant” need to be institutionalized for them to have an impact on the ground. Unless these approaches get legitimized and authorized by the Parliament, there cannot be any headway as far as the resolution is concerned.
“Our mission in the Parliament will be to drive, persuade and convince all the parties to formalize a basic J&K policy; a kind of a Common Minimum Program of all the political parties on J&K. PDP will take the lead in doing this,” said Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
PDP aspires to change the national mind-set, through its interventions in the Parliament that finding a resolution in J&K is not only the Government’s responsibility. The opposition, as also other associated and regional parties, have an equal responsibility and stake in the well-being of J&K.
PDP has put its top leadership in the electoral fray. The President of the party, Mehbooba Mufti, is leading the team by contesting from South Kashmir. Muzzaffar Hussain Beig a legal luminary from North Kashmir, Tariq Karra, a grass roots politician and former Finance Minister of J&K from central Kashmir. From Jammu we have fielded two of the senior most leaders of the state; Yashpal Sharma, a veteran politician who has been in active politics for more than 40 years. Arshid Mallik who also has 30 years of political experience is contesting from Udhampur-Doda.
“Our team of parliamentarians will seek to create an environment for resolution at the national level, not just through formal parliamentary deliberation but through informal political networking as well,” Mufti said.
Our parliamentary work will be based on the five pillars:
i) Democratic participation
ii) Political resolution
iii) Emotional reconciliation
iv) Economic collaboration
v) Socio-cultural association
6. To build a momentum on these issues, it shall be our endeavour to have a “Special session of the Parliament on J&K”. In this session that the members of PDP would anchor the debate and steer the discussion of the House towards a stated J&K Policy which is quasi legislative in its moorings.
7. Jammu & Kashmir being the only Muslim majority state of the country adds to the credibility of India as a secular nation. Along with this position, which J&K has attained by choice, come certain national responsibilities. It is our plan to work in the Parliament alongside the national leadership of minorities to address their concerns and insecurities. By working in tandem with them, we shall seek to strengthen their resolve and add to their voice by seeking the creation of an Equal Opportunities Commission.
8. PDP will propose, discuss and debate the creation of a new Ministry for Affairs of J&K. We will seek parliamentary approval for upgrading the existing Department of J&K Affairs which is currently a part of the home ministry. The idea is to give it a developmental focus and not an overly security angle.
9. In addition PDP will seek to amend various national policies relating to developmental aspects with a view to make them beneficial for J&K. For instance, the National Hydro Policy, 2008, MSME Development Act, Micro Finance (Development and Regulation) Bill 2012, Amendment of Procurement Preference Policy Act.
10. On the cultural front our Members of Parliament will seek to get Kashmiri the status of a classical language.