UPA-III Will Be In Power, J&K Lucky To Have Azad As Contestant: Omar

UPA-III Will Be In Power, J&K Lucky To Have Azad As Contestant: Omar

25 March 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Fighting maiden Lok Sabha election from his home State, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad today filed his nomination papers from Udhampur-Doda Parliamentary seat before Returning Officer (Deputy Commissioner, Kathua, Jatinder Singh) today in the presence of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, PCC-I chief Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz, State Ministers, legislators of both National Conference and Congress and senior office bearers. Mr Azad filed four sets of nomination papers. Holding 'Road Show' from Hatli Morh, Kathua to the office of the Returning Officer, Mr Azad voiced confidence that people will reject BJP's 'propaganda about Modi wave' while Omar declared that UPA-III would come to the power after the general elections and there would be two Cabinet Ministers from Jammu and Kashmir at the Centre. Mr Azad, Omar and Prof Soz along with other Ministers, legislators and leaders of the two parties reached Hatli Morh together in a cavalcade from Jammu. They were taken to the office of the Returning Officer for filing nomination papers in a procession by a large number of supporters, who had gathered at Kathua from different parts of the region. Apart from Mr Azad, PDP candidate from Udhampur-Doda Parliamentary constituency Mohammad Arshad Malik also filed his papers today in the presence of senior PDP leader. Two Independent candidates Anil Khajuria of Udhampur and Bansi Lal of Katra joined the fray from Udhampur Lok Sabha seat. With four nominations filed today, a total of 13 candidates including BJP's Dr Jitendra Singh and NPP's Prof Bhim Singh have joined the contest for Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha seat. Tomorrow is the last day for filing the nomination papers. 'Congress is 129 years old party and is rooted to ground. Those creating propaganda of (Modi) wave will be defeated as those rooted to the ground will only be victorious,' Mr Azad said at a rally after filing his nomination papers. 'There is no Modi wave. It is mere propaganda,' he said, adding the Congress would emerge victorious in the general elections. 'Congress has a history behind it, like the National Conference. Both parties are working towards better future of the people. We believe in work while the other parties were just making announcements,' Mr Azad said without referring to the BJP. Asserting that UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and AICC (I) vice president Rahul Gandhi were 'trusted leaders' of the nation, the Congress leader asserted that the BJP led by Narendra Modi wouldn't be able to form the Government at the Centre as was being claimed by the opposition party. Endorsing Mr Azad's views, Omar said: 'I promise Mr Azad and Congress that we will send him victorious from here. It is not Azad Sahib who is contesting, it is Omar who is contesting from here'. Personally taking responsibility for the victory of Mr Azad, Omar added that Mr Azad is free to campaign in any part of the country for other Congress candidates and 'I would take charge here for sending him to the Lok Sabha'. This is the first time that Mr Azad, who had served as Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir from November 2005 to July 2008 before his Government was pulled down by the coalition partner, PDP and has a political career spanning nearly 40 years, is contesting Lok Sabha seat from the State. He was elected twice from Washim Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra in 1980 and 1984. Born on March 7, 1949 in Soti village of Bhaderwah belt in Doda district, Mr Azad has contested Assembly elections twice in the State. He had to forfeit his security deposit in his first election but later won from his native Bhaderwah constituency as a Chief Minister in 2006 with a huge margin. However, in his nomination form, Mr Azad had given his address as Bawe Wali Gali, Shaheedhi Chowk. Azad is facing BJP candidate Dr Jitendra Singh, who is also contesting first election of his brief political career hoping to cash in on Modi wave and possible polarisation of voters due to August 2013 communal riots in Udhampur constituency's Kishtwar district. He had joined BJP three years ago and is chief spokesman of State BJP apart from national executive members and panelists for television at national level. Omar said Jammu and Kashmir is fortunate that Mr Azad is contesting the Lok Sabha election from here, he declared that the NC-Congress alliance would win all six Lok Sabha seats from the State. He took the BJP to task for alleged disrespect to the senior leaders. Asserting that NDA was 'building castles in the air' by claiming to form the next Government at the Centre, Omar said it would be UPA-III at the Centre and Congress leader would be next Prime Minister of the country. 'I'm sure the UPA would again form the Government at the Centre and Rahul would lead the country,' he said, adding so-called Modi wave would deflate soon. Accusing Narendra Modi of sidelining and disrespecting his senior BJP leaders, Omar said if he could not respect his' family members', how he could respect the people of the country. 'Modi is not respecting his family elders, how can he respect the elders of this country? It is for you people to think about it,' he said. 'We respect elders and seniors whatever is our religion, culture and tradition, but I feel sorry that Modi is not respecting them ' whether it is L K Advani, Jaswant Singh or others … One after another they have not been respected by him,' he said. 'Those who do not respect the people in their homes, they cannot the respect the people on the streets,' Omar said while taking a dig on Modi. Ridiculing BJP for the much talked about Modi wave, he said, 'BJP has the habit of creating propaganda of (Modi) wave in the country. They are in the habit of doing it. During Atal Bihari Vajpayee ruled NDA Government they felt India Shinning wave. They advanced the elections and that election wiped out NDA Government and they were forced out of power for 10 years.' 'After UPA-I, they again resorted to such a propaganda that UPA and Manmohan Singh have failed. But what happened? Dr Manmohan Singh became the Prime Minister again,' he said. 'They are again creating a wave of propaganda…But there is no such wave. They will get nothing in Jammu and Kashmir from this wave… UPA will again become victorious and Rahul Gandhi will be the next Prime Minister', he said. 'We (NC and Congress) have got together ' we will send our candidates victorious to New Delhi and under new UPA rule under Rahul Gandhi there would be two ministers from J&K to serve the people of this State.' Seeking support of the public for votes in favour of Mr Azad, he said Mr Azad has responsibility of the country as well. He is needed in the country. Omar said BJP cannot lead the nation towards path of progress and prosperity and represent the pluralistic society of the country because of its narrow thinking and divisive philosophy. He took a dig at BJP for the bickering in the party over ticket distribution and said such parties cannot do justice with the people of the country, who do not respect their own veteran leaders. Omar said the coalition candidates would win all the six seats in the State in view of the secular combination which was acceptable to all parts of Jammu and Kashmir and people of different faiths. He cautioned the people against the divisive forces and appealed to them to strengthen secular forces. Omar made fervent appeal to the workers of NC and Congress to go out in the field and highlight the work done by the coalition Government for the betterment of general public. 'Go and work hard as it is not just Mr Azad, who is contesting elections but it's me who is fighting elections. We have to ensure a record win for Mr Azad'. Thanking UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for sparing Mr Azad to contest election from Doda-Udhampur Parliament seat, Mr Abdullah said: 'we are waiting since the announcement of elections that when Mr Azad will come and contest polls. But now he is here and contesting election. We don't want him to spare maximum time here as he has many more party responsibilities to campaign for other party candidates in rest of the country. But one thing, we will ensure Azad Sahib that from all the six constituencies of the State, Doda-Udhampur seat will be won by a record margin and will create a new history. I will campaign like it is not just you but me, who is in fray.' Mr Azad said the BJP would lose the election despite initiating campaign six months back. 'For the last six months from every corner only one name is being heard in the BJP, which revealed the party belonged to a person only. It seems that there is no other leader in BJP, who has capacity to lead the people from the front and was dependent upon a just single person to woo the voters,' the Union Minister said without naming BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. PCC chief Prof Saif-ud-din-Soz congratulated Mr Azad for the overwhelming response and said that victory of Azad is written on the wall and the coalition would win all the seats in the State. Prof Soz said Congress has always played a vital role in Jammu and Kashmir and taken care of the aspirations of the each region of the State. He said Congress has always respected the sentiments of people of State including Jammu region and it is unifying force for the broader unity of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and the country in view of its secular ideals. He appealed the workers of Congress and NC to gear up for ensuring victory of the coalition candidates. 'Now the election dates have been announced, almost all the parties be it national or region, are in fray at a larger extent. All of them are going amidst the general public highlighting the issues. It is now slowly and steadily getting visible that the people (BJP leadership) who created the wave will get nothing out of it,' he added and quoted an Urdu couplet, 'Ab Hawain Hi Karengi Faislaa Roshni Ka, Jis Diye Mein Jaan Hogi, Who Diya Reh Jayega'. Mr Azad said that 'likewise Congress and its allies are getting similar response throughout the nation as Congress has served the people with commitment and dedication. We have never ever made mere announcements like BJP. The spell bound development related activities throughout the country are the pointer to the fact, that Congress is the only party that has served the nation and brought new era of development in almost all the spheres.' He said it was the Congress, which for the last 129 years is serving the nation. 'It was Congress that forced the Britishers, which were ruling the world, to leave India. And one can imagine Congress' commitment for the people of the country. It is the Congress party that has made a history on executing developmental related activities throughout the country, connecting villages with township area further towns with cities, followed by cities with Metros. Besides, Congress party has ensured development in health, and rural sectors. See, the road connectivity, see the new infrastructure in Health sector around you. New Hospitals, New Medical Colleges, Super Specialty Hospitals are evident examples and achievements of UPA government in the last 10 years. Safety and security has been ensured for pregnant women and newly born babies through the scheme like AASHA is another example of Congress led UPA Government really concerned for every Indian. And no such development has ever taken place ever before in the history of India', Mr Azad added. Appreciating the work done by NC-Congress coalition Government in Jammu and Kashmir headed by Omar Abdullah, Mr Azad said: 'in small two and half years' tenure as Chief Minister, I has created new districts and the work which was left, now has been completed by Omar led government by providing new administrative units including new Sub Divisions, Tehsils, Blocks and Niabats in the entire State'. He further said that, 'be it Congress led UPA Government at Centre or NC-Congress coalition Government in Jammu and Kashmir, we never discriminated with the people. We ensure equitable development. We never identified the areas that did not vote for us. Instead, we listened to every voice raised by any political party or an individual.' Meanwhile, addressing his supporters and party workers after filing nomination papers, PDP candidate for Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha seat Arshad Malik said that PDP is contesting Parliamentary elections with an aim to change destiny of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He said that on-going Lok Sabha elections is an opportunity before the people to take one step forward towards movement of change. He said that PDP has carved out a path of development and peace in Jammu and Kashmir so it is need of hour to strengthen his party for establishing lasting peace and accelerating developmental activities in the State. Highlighting achievements of the three year tenure of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, he asked the people to compare tenure of PDP led Government with the successive regimes of National Conference in the State. 'Only PDP leadership has the vision to solve problems of people', he said and pointed out it was only during the regime of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed that equal treatment was given to all regions and sub-regions. He said that PDP has pioneered a political and economic agenda to fulfill wishes and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. 'Establishing sustainable peace and to consolidate reconciliation process is on the top of the party's agenda', he said and expressed satisfaction that during a short period of just three years, PDP, through its visionary policies, has established peace with dignity and honour.