Former state minister and senior Congress leader Sham Lal Sharma, the party candidate from Akhnoor, has called upon people to raise the pitch for the next chief minister to be from the Jammu region.
Sharma had earlier drawn flak for his comments that the next CM of the state should be a Hindu. Most of the Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers have all been from the Kashmir Valley, except for Ghulam Nabi Azad who hails from Doda district in Jammu.
On Wednesday, while addressing a function at Akhnoor, 25 km from Jammu city, Sharma sought to convince people, including party workers, by saying that a CM from Jammu region would prove "much better" that those who have ruled the state so far.
"If people from Gujarat can make their chief minister the prime minister of India, what prevents you to raise the issue of your candidate to be the chief minister of the state," he said. "I may be a controversial leader, but my vision for the people of the state is very clear."
Sharma also asked people to get ready for elections to the separate regional councils for Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions of the state in two years' time. Formation of the regional council has been a primary issue in the Congress manifesto.
The Congress leader, while talking to HT after the function, also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party for incorporating the 'self-rule agenda' of the PDP and the greater autonomy proposal of the NC.
He said the BJP leadership has "thrown into the dustbin" its own ideology, perhaps making a reference to the saffron party not raking up the abrogation of the Article 370 during its election campaign in the state.
Sharma further said there is no likelihood of a complete majority-government in Jammu and Kashmir and said the mandate will be "a fractured one".
Sharma also took a dig at PM Narendra Modi saying his constituency is "far better developed" than Modi's Gujarat.
"All labourers that come to Jammu are from BJP-ruled states like Gujarat, Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh to earn a living here, while Jammu women are never seen on roads breaking stones," he said.