J&K Apni Party’s Rally Today, “Biggest” Since Special Status Revoked

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J&K Apni Party's Rally Today, 'Biggest' In Kashmir Since Special Status Revoked

Founder Altaf Bukhari has said his party won’t “provoke people based on emotions”.

Srinagar:

The J&K Apni Party (JKAP) is holding a major public rally in Srinagar today, claimed to be the biggest rally in Kashmir since the abrogation of special status and division of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two UTs — carving out Ladakh — in August 2019.

The party, headed by Altaf Bukhari and launched with the backing of the central government after Article 370 was hollowed out, is expecting over 40,000 people to attend at Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium. The show of strength is the first such by any party ahead of the assembly elections likely by early next year.

Traffic police have issued an advisory and asked people to avoid unnecessary travel towards Lal Chowk and the stadium area in view of large number of vehicles expected to enter the city with people participating in the rally.

Comprising a number of ex-MLAs from former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the J&K Apni Party leadership had met PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi soon after its formation. It was the first such outreach by a party from Kashmir after the revocation move.

Altaf Bukhari has said his party won’t “provoke people based on emotions”. “We will fight for their aspirations such as statehood, protection of land and jobs,” he has told media outlets.

Mr Bukhari wants statehood restored before the assembly elections.

Of the two UTs formed, Jammu and Kashmir has the provision for a state assembly — like Puducherry — while Ladakh doesn’t have one, like Chandigarh. Ladakh has witnessed protest marches demanding full statehood.

Jammu and Kashmir is without an elected government for more than four years now. Elections may be announced any time after completion of the revision of electoral rolls on November 25.

Besides a number of regional parties, including PDP and National Conference — and national parties Congress and BJP — former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who bitterly parted with the Congress, recently launched his Democratic Azad Party to fight the next assembly elections in the region.

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