Former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has refuted rumors about his potential appointment as the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. He said his intentions were to serve the people of the Union Territory instead.
Azad made this statement during a rally held to commemorate the foundation day of his Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP).
Addressing the crowd, Azad urged the public not to believe in the ongoing speculation regarding his supposed interest in rehabilitation. He stated firmly, “I will request people not to trust the rumour mills which are working overtime… There is a fresh rumour here that Ghulam Nabi Azad is going to be the next LG. I have not come to J&K for a job but to serve the people.”
Azad also emphasized his history of public service in the region, noting, “When I came here in 2005, I left two prized ministries to serve the people. It was not as if I was without work.”
Highlighting the critical issues faced by Jammu and Kashmir, Azad identified unemployment and inflation as significant challenges. He expressed his commitment to addressing these problems by harnessing the tourism potential of the region.
Azad pointed out, “Inflation is on the rise… Unemployment is on the rise. There are no jobs. Government is advertising posts but interviews are not held. Educated youth have no jobs, and their parents have exhausted their savings on their education.”
The former Congress leader underlined the potential of tourism as a means to provide livelihoods for various segments of the society. He cited the example of the Tulip Garden, which was established in 2007 and has since created employment opportunities for thousands of people. Azad shared his vision of developing 10 to 12 tourist destinations in each district of Jammu and Kashmir and offering loans to individuals for setting up homestay facilities.
Regarding the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A by the Central government in 2019, Azad labeled it a significant mistake. He acknowledged past political errors that had hindered the progress of the state and expressed regret over the removal of these articles.
Azad stated, “Article 35A, subsequently Article 35B, was not promulgated after Independence. It was brought by the Maharaja (Hari Singh) in 1925. I said this in Parliament that had the BJP known that they would not have touched Article 370 and Article 35A. This mistake pushed us further back. There is an uncertainty whether the land will stay with us or not.”