Congress MP Jairam Ramesh confirmed the seat-sharing deal with the AAP in Delhi, adding that the alliance will be made official later in the day.
Apni Party President Altaf Bukhari on Sunday urged the Election Commission of India to hold simultaneous assembly and parliamentary polls in Jammu & Kashmir.
Bukhari made this demand while addressing a daylong party workers’ meeting in the border town of Bishnah.
“The government initially said it would hold assembly and parliamentary elections together. However, it later constituted a committee, but declined, citing various reasons, including elections in other states of the country,” Bukhari said.
He demanded holding both assembly and parliamentary elections together in J&K, emphasising that this would allow the people to elect a government after every five years.
“The Supreme Court has also directed the government to hold elections before September 2024 in J&K, but I suspect they will not end the rule of an unpopular government in the erstwhile state,” he said, raising doubts while criticising the influence of UP and Punjab-based liquor and mining mafia on the authorities.
He said: “Five years have passed without an elected government in Jammu & Kashmir. The last elected government, formed by the BJP in alliance with the PDP, fell in 2018.”
“The BJP had contested the 2014 assembly elections against the National Conference and the PDP, and then they formed the coalition government with the PDP,” he said and asked people if they had seen any development or employment in Bishnah or any other parts of Jammu.
He also raised concerns about the involvement of outside mafias in the mining and liquor trade, which, he claimed, has resulted in job losses, disrupted trade, and spiked the cost of construction materials.
“Contractors from Uttar Pradesh and Punjab exploit local resources and labourers, whereas several liquor vends have been opened in every nook and corner of Jammu. If this is the ‘naya Jammu and Kashmir’, then we do not want such a situation, where the rights of J&K are denied,” he added.
The situation changed the day the special status of J&K was “snatched” from the people of the erstwhile state, he claimed, adding that people across the country are unaware of the plight of those living along the border with Pakistan in J&K. Besides, he stated that no one recalls the supreme sacrifices made by the civilian population living on the border in Jammu as well as in Kashmir.
“The people of Jammu & Kashmir did not get any kind of benefit in the last 70 years; rather the benefits were grabbed by the two families instead of reaching the masses. However, now the time has come when the people shall be granted constitutional rights in J&K,” he stated.
He further said, “The people of J&K will fight for jobs in a democratic manner. We are a peace-loving nationalist people who never resort to any kind of violent means.”
He congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for granting reservation to a tribe in J&K.
“If reservation can be granted to a tribe to address their long-pending demand, then why couldn’t the concerns and demands of Jammu’s Dogras, Kashmiri-speaking people and other communities be addressed by holding assembly elections and restoring statehood to Jammu & Kashmir,” he asked.
Bukhari said that as a border state, it is imperative for Jammu & Kashmir to work in coordination with the government of India in the national interest.