October 2002 News

J&K polls should not become an exercise in futility: BJP

16 October 2002
The Hindu

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party today articulated its concern over not dissipating the gains from the successful conduct of free and fair elections to the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. It was the responsibility of all the political parties to ''understand the mandate'' of the people and ''implement it faithfully,'' the party general secretary and spokesperson, Arun Jaitley, said. The people of Jammu and Kashmir had shown courage and responsibility by coming out to vote in large numbers, and it should not prove to be a futile exercise. It was important not to betray the people''s expectations and the BJP hoped that there would be no unsavoury political development such as ''horse-trading'' that would rob the free and fair Assembly elections of the ''historical significance'' they had assumed and the ''international acclaim of fairness'' they had earned. Mr. Jaitley was careful in not giving any hint of the BJP''s own preference on the issue of government formation in a situation where the Assembly is fractured. The ''issues'' of fighting terrorism and insurgency, development, elimination of discrimination between the different regions of the State, and winning the full confidence of the people were far more important than the interests of individual parties, he said. It was also not simply a game of numbers in Jammu and Kashmir. The Centre and the BJP would not like to interfere in any way or make a move favouring one party or another. The people had given a mandate for the formation of a popular government, they wanted freedom from insurgency, desired a government which would focus on development of all the regions of the State, and finally, they had given a mandate for ending regional discrimination. It was up to the political parties to address these concerns and not disappoint the electorate, Mr. Jaitley said, while warning subtly that the gains from the elections should not be squandered at this stage. Of course, ''it was too early'' to say that the problems of government formation, seen in the last few days, had already squandered away the positive momentum generated by the successful elections.


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