Cong manifesto more 'Jammu specific'

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Jammu
  • Updated: Nov 24, 2014 21:49 IST

The Congress manifesto, which was released on Sunday, is more specific on addressing aspirations and problems of the Jammu region. To give a sense of equal political empowerment with the Kashmir region, it proposed to set up regional council in Kashmir.

"The Congress will constitute fully-empowered regional councils for the Jammu and Kashmir region and separate development councils for Pir Panjal range( Rajouri-Poonch districts) and Chenab Valley( Doda region)," read the manifesto.

The party had won 13 out of the 17 seats in the last elections from the Jammu region. However, this time it was facing a tough competition from the BJP, which hopes to get maximums seats from the Jammu region.

The concept for regional council for the Jammu region was floated by the Congress after it lost both parliamentary seats of the Jammu region to the BJP. It was first proposed by party leader Sham Lal Sharma, who also talked about the Hindu CM. Though, it does not find any mention in the manifesto.

The party said these councils will be set up for devolution of power to all three regions.

The concept was drawn from Leh and Kargil districts having autonomous hill councils, which make plan for the development of their districts. It was aimed at giving them sense of more participation in local development, than remain dependent on the Kashmir region.

The manifesto read that the party has strong commitment to the refugees and even promises to settle problems faced by the West Pakistan refugees and will purse it with the Centre.

Refugees from West Pakistan are not considered permanent residents of the state and as such not entitled to either purchase land-thus settle permanently- and cannot apply for government jobs. There is strong opposition to grant them permanent resident status from the Kashmir region.

It is a major issue in the Jammu region. PM Narendara Modi in his rally at the Kishtwar on Saturday had promised to settle the issue.

The manifesto also promised to introduce bill seeking constitution of delimitation commission. The Jammu region that has 37 Assembly seats demands for delimitation to give it numerical parity on seats with the Kashmir, which has 46 seats.

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