The flag of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir’s will be used by the coalition of all major regional parties which aim to have its status and powers restored, the bloc announced on Saturday. The group will be led by former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and rival Mehbooba Mufti will be his deputy.
The “People’s Alliance” is an unprecedented grouping of parties which signed last year’s Gupkar Declaration just before the centre struck down Jammu and Kashmir’s decades-old special powers listed in Article 370 of the constitution and split it into two union territories.
The leaders, who buried years of bitter rivalry to ally, met at the residence of People’s Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti for the first time after its formation on Saturday.
National Conference leader Mr Abdullah, 83, was unanimously named chairman of the group while Ms Mufti will be its vice-chairman. Left leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami is the convenor of the alliance, while Sajad Lone of the People’s Conference has been named as the spokesperson.
“I want to tell you that it is false propaganda by the BJP that the PAGD (People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration) is anti-national. I want to tell them that this is not true. There is no doubt that it is anti-BJP but it is not anti-national,” Mr Abdullah told reporters after the meeting.
“They have tried to destroy the constitution of the country, they have tried to divide the nation, to break the federal structure which we saw what they did on August 5 last year,” he said.
Sajad Lone said the alliance will come out with a whitepaper within a month on the governance in Jammu and Kashmir over the past one year since the abrogation of Article 370 and “expose the lies and propaganda” of the BJP and the way Kashmiris have been slandered.
“The white paper will not be rhetoric. It will be based on facts and figures to present the reality to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and around the country… An impression is being given that all the corruption had happened in Jammu and Kashmir only,” Mr Lone said.