Srinagar: Combined opposition candidate for presidential poll Yashwant Sinha on Saturday said if elected, one of his priorities will be to urge the government to resolve the Kashmir issue permanently and restore peace, justice, democracy and normalcy to the union territory. The former BJP leader is here on a day-long visit to drum up support for his presidential bid. While there is no legislative assembly in Jammu and Kashmir as of now, it has five Lok Sabha members — three from the National Conference and two from the BJP. There are no Rajya Sabha members from the union territory as on date.
“If elected, I shall perform my duty as the custodian of the Constitution without fear or favour. One of my priorities would be to urge the government to take all necessary steps to resolve Kashmir issue permanently, and restore peace, justice, democracy, normalcy and holistic development to Jammu and Kashmir,” Sinha told reporters here.
He said it was deeply regrettable that the Supreme Court is yet to begin hearing the matter related to abrogation of articles 370 and 35A nearly three years after the central government revoked them.
“Long pendency of constitutional cases erodes the credibility of the apex court,” he said, adding the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir should be restored and free and fair elections to the assembly should be held at the earliest.
“I am opposed to forcible and manipulative demographic change in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Sinha also said the central government has failed in its promise to create conditions for the safe and dignified return and resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits.
“It must fulfill the promise not only for Kashmiri Pandits but also for all others who were forced to migrate out of Kashmir,” he sid.
Sinha said Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an all-party meeting in June 2020 had promised to remove the “dil ki doori” and “Dilli ki doori” (the distance from the heart and Delhi). “Over two years have passed and the promise remains unfulfilled.”
He said he had great personal regard for the NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu.
“However, from Srinagar, I urge her to make same affirmations and promises I have made. The people of Jammu and Kashmir also expect this assurance from her,” he added.
The opposition candidate said he was asked the rationale behind his Srinagar visit as Jammu and Kashmir was largely unrepresented in the presidential election.
“I told them I am going to Srinagar to highlight the injustice done to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. I would like the people of rest of India to know how their compatriots in Jammu and Kashmir have been robbed of their fundamental and democratic rights,” he said.
Responding to another question, he said Jammu and Kashmir cannot be won over through management.
“There is no will to fight out the injustice in Jammu and Kashmir. Perhaps, that is why there are no assembly elections. Perhaps that is why the unnecessary delimitation exercise was carried out which has done justice to none. They should know that Jammu and Kashmir cannot be won over by management,” he added. (Agencies)