Our priority is to fight for Statehood, development: Mir

Irfan Tramboo

The Apni Party (AP) candidate from Srinagar Parliamentary constituency, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, said that his party’s priority is to fight for the Statehood and development of Jammu and Kashmir.
In an exclusive interview to Excelsior, Mir said that although it has been promised in the Parliament, there is still a need to initiate deliberations on the issue.

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“Politically, our foremost priority will be regaining Statehood for J&K. The Apni Party is committed to this and pledges to the people. We have secured safeguards for land and jobs, and we will also restore Statehood with dignity,” he said.
The AP leader said cities and towns of J&K lag behind in development and the party agenda is to raise these issues.
“Regarding the developmental agenda, we lag behind other cities and towns. I have visited various places where people talk about basic issues, indicating that the people of J&K have got nothing beyond governance, development, and basic amenities. They have not been given that chance by political parties in the past, which have relied on lies and provocation, ultimately bringing destruction to J&K,” he added.
Mir said that people in the old city and remote areas lack basic amenities and his party wants to address these issues.

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“In the old city, there are still houses occupied by multiple families lacking resources. In remote areas, people still lack access to electricity, clean drinking water, roads, and hospitals. They might think that they have done everything for people but in reality, they have failed in addressing the people’s issues,” he added.
The AP leader said that regardless of which party is in power at the Centre, “we must ensure better relations with them; strengthening the Centre-State relationship is crucial for the development we aspire to achieve here”.
When asked about allegations of the NC and the PDP that AP is B-team of the BJP, Mir said: “Omar was a Minister during Vajpayee’s tenure. Then came the PDP, forming a Government with the BJP. How can the NC justify an alliance with the Shiv Sena at the national level? We haven’t even made a mark yet, let alone consider forming alliances. The BJP lacks the cadre-strength to contest Parliamentary elections in Kashmir; they do not have any stakes here,” he said.
“The entire election process is under the control of the Election Commission, with established protocols. We are not receiving any sort of priority; wherever we go, we do so with proper permission. Unlike the NC, which flouts regulations,” he added.
The AP accused the NC and the PDP for being responsible for the atmosphere which was created here during 2012 and 2017. “The same prompted us to part ways with PDP,” he added.
“In 2012, during Omar’s tenure, 120 people were killed, and pellets were used, resulting in people losing eyesight. This created an atmosphere where people sought an alternative Government. The PDP came to power, and Omar, the incumbent CM, lost. People entrusted us with a mandate for change, only to be betrayed when we formed an alliance with the BJP. The events of 2012 repeated in 2016, with various conspiracies at play,” he added.
Mir said raising the issue of Article 370 by some political parties is mere provocation from them as the file has already been closed by the Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court has closed the file on Article 370, even though it was against the wishes of the people of J&K. Some are resorting to the politics of provocation. However, the agenda of this election is purely developmental, aimed at securing dignity and identity. The rest is mere provocation from them,” he said.
He said that they had five MPs but failed to address the issues faced by the people. “They lack both a developmental and political agenda and resort to spreading falsehoods,” he added.
Mir said that in a short period of time, the AP has got acceptance from the people of J&K. “We have had sufficient time to reach out to people since the inception of the party. We have discovered that there is widespread acceptance of the J&K Apni Party and a desire for change among the people. We are confident of victory as we are fighting for the dignity of the people,” he said.

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