J&K: Parties Up The Ante; Militants Lie Low

19 November 2008
The Indian Express

Srinagar: Accusing the previous Congress-PDP Government of corruption and mismanagement, National Conference (NC) chief Omar Abdullah on Wednesday promised to address the unemployment problem in the state if voted to power. 'In the name of development, the PDP-Congress government has given the state unemployment, financial mismanagement, poverty, bad roads, dry taps, poor health care and crippled education system,' the star campaigner of NC said addressing a series of public meetings in Rajouri district. The winter chill was no deterrent to people as the four constituencies of Leh and Kargil districts went to polls on Monday in the first phase of elections. While few dared to venture out in the bitter cold during the morning, polling soon picked up pace, with the four Assembly segments of Ladakh - Leh, Nobra, Kargil and Zanskar - recording a cumulative turnout of 60 per cent. 'The coalition government which came into power in 2002 by raising hollow slogans and making false promises, completely failed to address the problem of unemployment in the state leading to restlessness among the youth,' Omar said. He stated that the model of regional autonomy as envisaged by the party will distribute power to the regional and sub-regional level, thereby ensuring the participation of the people of all regions and sub-regions in the decision-making process. The topmost priority of the NC would be to address the unemployment problem and for that the party will come out with a special package, Omar said adding ‘the party will also open new avenues for the young and ensure that in each household there is at least one earning hand’. 'We will re-start the process of recruitment in the Police Department by sending the Director General of Police (DGP) to remote areas as was being done during the previous NC government,' he said. He added that the party would also lower the qualification bar for appointment of constables and class-IV staff to middle pass and not metric as imposed by the erstwhile government.