Elections, Kashmir problem two different issues: JKAP chief Bukhari


J&K Apni Party (JKAP), a new entrant in the Union Territory’s (UT) regional politics, on Tuesday organised its first rally here and its president Altaf Bukhari said “the ongoing polls should not be mixed up with the larger political problem of Kashmir”.

Mr. Bukhari, first regional leader and ex-Peoples Democratic Party Minister to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in March after abrogation of J&K’s special status, said, “People by participating in the District Development Council (DDC) polls are drafting a new narrative on Kashmir”.

The businessman-turned-politician said there was an attempt by local political parties to push a narrative that casting a vote was a referendum on the Kashmir issue.

“The common masses by participating in the polls have shown that elections and the political issue of Kashmir are two different things. Voting is for development only.”

He was obliquely referring to the six-party amalgam of the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), which has contested the DDC polls on the ideological agenda to bring back the special status of J&K rather than a development plank.

On a question related to the impact of the BJP’s measures, Mr. Bukhari said, “I blame the BJP, the Congress, the National Conference, the Peoples Democratic Party and others equally for the political uncertainty in Kashmir.”

Hoping to win many segments in the ongoing DDC polls, Mr. Bukhari said, “My party is just nine months old. The baby has been delivered and will gain weight with time. I am sure we will leave a mark in the polls.”

He said his party will work towards grassroots level development in J&K. “Participation of transporters, traders, hoteliers, houseboat owners etc. in the rally is a clear message that people don’t want politics of deceit,” Mr. Bukhari said.

Bid to disrupt rally

Two persons were arrested for raising slogans and carrying bottles filled with petrol during an election rally of a PAGD candidate in Kupwara.

The incident took place during a rally of DDC candidate Tariq Majnon Mir.

“Two youth were detained for attempting to disrupt the atmosphere. Petrol bottles were recovered from them. They are being questioned,” a police officer said.

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said on Twitter, “Two miscreants tried to hurl a petrol bomb at a PAGD candidate’s rally in Wavera, Kupwara. I request the police to initiate an inquiry and ensure stringent action.”

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