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Jammu & Kashmir

Farooq to lead Gupkar alliance, Mufti his deputy

October 25, 2020 07:25 AM

coURTESY HT OCT 25

Farooq to lead Gupkar alliance, Mufti his deputy
Flag of erstwhile state adopted as the flag of the alliance; J&K People’s Conference chief Sajjad Lone to be the spokesperson

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and others after a meeting of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration in Srinagar on Saturday. Waseem Andrabi/ht
Mir Ehsan

letters@hindustantimes.com

Srinagar : A grouping of six political parties in Jammu and Kashmir chose National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah as its chairperson and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti his deputy, giving shape to an alliance that they have formed to demand the restoration of the erstwhile state’s special status.

The decisions were taken at a meeting held at the Fairview residence of Mufti at the posh Gupkar Road in Srinagar. Leaders of all six parties — NC, PDP, Peoples Conference (PC), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Peoples Movement (PM) and Awami National Conference (ANC) — were present at the meeting. The flag of the erstwhile state was adopted as the flag of the alliance.

Abdullah said the grouping, christened People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, or PAGD, was not an anti-national alliance but was definitely anti-BJP.

“I want to tell you that it’s a false propaganda by the BJP that the PAGD is anti-national. There is no doubt that it is anti-BJP, but it is not anti-national,” he said.

Abdullah, 84,the Lok Sabha member from Srinagar, said their fight was not religious in nature and that it was for their “rights and identity”. “They (the BJP) have tried to destroy the Constitution and divide the country. We have seen what they did to the Constitution of India on August 5 last year...our objective is to fight for the rights of people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. We will fight for the regional autonomy of Jammu and Ladakh regions as well.”

On August 5, 2019, the central government nullified Article 370, which accorded special status to the state of J&K, and bifurcated it into two Union territories – J&K with a legislative assembly and Ladakh without one — triggering widespread protests and a political firestorm. Several political leaders and activists including three former chief ministers — Mufti, Abdullah and his son, Omar Abdullah — were detained as a preventive measure to maintain law and order. The Abdullahs were released in March, and Mufti was freed in October.

Since then, the leaders, once fierce opponents, have come together — backed by four other parties — to forge the alliance that aims to work for the restoration of the region’s special status. The grouping’s first meeting was held at the Gupkar residence of Abdullah on October 15.

At Saturday’s meeting, PC chairperson Sajjad Lone was nominated as the spokesperson of the alliance. CPI-M general secretary Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami will be its convener and Anantnag parliamentarian Hasnain Masoodi of the NCits coordinator.

BJP spokesperson Altaf Thakur said the grouping will not succeed. “These people have ruled J&K for 70 years. Now when they are out of power, the families have again come together to grab power. This is a VVIP alliance of powerful people that will not work

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