Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 24
The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on Saturday adopted the flag of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state as its symbol electing NC’s Farooq Abdullah and PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti as the bloc’s leaders to work towards the restoration of Article 370.
The adoption of J&K’s old flag is a symbolic expression of PAGD’s commitment to the demand that special status of the area be restored to the pre-August 5, 2019 status.
Leaders of the seven-party alliance (CPI is the latest to join) formalised the grouping at a meeting held at PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti’s residence in Srinagar, where NC president Farooq Abdullah was unanimously elected chairperson of the group and Mehbooba was chosen its vice-chairperson.
People’s Conference president Sajjad Lone, who was named PAGD spokesperson, today said the alliance would publish a white paper on the year gone by and make it public in a month’s time.
Abdullah, 84, meanwhile clarified that the group was anti-BJP and not anti-national. “I want to tell you that this is false propaganda by the BJP that the People’s Alliance is anti-national. This is not true. There is no doubt the alliance is anti-BJP, but it is not anti-national,” Abdullah said after the meeting that named CPM’s MY Tarigami as convener and Anantnag MP from the NC Hasnain Masoodi as coordinator.
On the promise of the white paper, Lone said it would not be rhetorical.
“The white paper will not be rhetorical. 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 created as though all the corruption took place in Jammu and Kashmir,” Lone said.
Back in New Delhi, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad dismissed the PAGD’s agenda and said there was no way this coalition would get what it wanted.
“Article 370 will not be restored. Revoking it was our commitment and people across India have appreciated it,” Prasad said.
PAGD chairperson Abdullah, however, accused the BJP-led Centre of destroying the Constitution of India.
“They have attempted to divide the nation, break its federal structure and we saw that on August 5, 2019. They are trying to divide us in the name of religion. Their attempt will not succeed. Ours is not a religious battle, it is a fight for our identity and it is for this goal alone that we are together,” Abdullah said.
The PAGD now has seven parties instead of six it had when it first met. The new entrant is CPI and the old ones are the NC, PDP, People’s Conference, Awami National Conference, CPM and JK People’s Movement.
JK Congress chief Ghulam Mir has skipped both the formal meetings of the PAGD called in Srinagar.