Jammu, 11-01-2018: Strongly urging upon the State government and the BJP in particular to bring a legislation in the current Assembly session to restore and reduce the term of J&K Legislative Assembly to five years from the present six, a strong contingent of Panther activists spearheaded by Mr. Harsh Dev Singh Chairman JKNPP along with other leaders staged a vociferous protest demonstration at Exhibition Ground Jammu today. The infuriated protestors accused the Saffron party of rabble rousing over the issue while it was in opposition but remaining mum after assuming power. They also torched the effigy of the BJP to express their anger for its double standards.
Addressing the media, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh asked the BJP-PDP combine to bring in a legislation to restore and reduce the term of State Assembly to five years and pave the way for the simultaneous elections to the Legislative Assembly and the Lok Sabha in 2019. While taking a dig at the BJP, he said that the Saffron party which during its opposition days overtly cornered the previous State government over the issue had now seemed to remain criminally silent after coming to power. He said that during his tenure as a legislator he had moved the concerned bill a dozen of times which could not be passed due to the lack of support, but wondered why the BJP being a equal partner in the ruling alliance with 25 heavily mandated MLAs failed to utter a word on the serious matter which had politically alienated J&K from rest of the Indian states. He further added that in the wake of countrywide debate on the merits of Art 370, the time was apt for all the political parties to end the anomaly of six years term for the State Assembly which was a glaring example of the misuse of the special status enjoyed by State under the pretext of the said article.
Recalling the chronology of events, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh stated that the six year term of the State Assembly was a grim reminder of the Emergency period from 1975 to 1977 in the history of Independent India. He reminded that the then Union Government led by the Congress brought 42nd Amendment (1976) of the Indian Constitution simply to defer elections to Parliament as well as State Legislatures. But the amendment was promptly reversed by the newly elected popular Union Government in 1977. Ironically, while the then J&K Government headed by Sheikh Abdullah was quick to adopt the Centre’s amendment extending State Assembly’s term from 5 to 6 years, it conveniently turned a blind eye to the Centre’s legislation to restore the term back to 5 years. As a result, the J&K Assembly term continued for 6 years ever since the 1977 General elections, Harsh divulged. He maintained that the term of Lok Sabha was 5 years and likewise the State Legislatures and Panchayats all across the country were enjoying the term of 5 years but the J&K was the only state of India with its Assembly having the term of 6 years. “Special status of J&K had been selectively used, or misused, to suit the convenience of a small coterie of the ruling polity in the State with no concern for the welfare of the people who were divested of their regular democratic rights. Shamefully, the BJP also opted to support the ideology of the coterie for the loaves of power”, Harsh regretted. He said that seminars would be held in state and New Delhi besides other states to apprise the nation about the abuse of Art 370 by J&K leaders to enjoy the fruits of power for one additional year.
Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion included Rajesh Padgotra, Gagan Partap, Shanker Singh Chib, Khajoor Singh, Raj Kumar Jandial, Karnail Singh, Neeraj Gupta, Nirmal Kishore, Rashpaul Singh, Mohinder Singh, Rohit Sharma, Capt. Narotam, Vishav Singh, Udhayveer Singh, Lakhwinder, Roshan Sharma, Des Raj besides others.