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  • Continue ceasefire violations exposes betrayal with border dwellers
  • War within ruling BJP over issue of protocol reaching Assembly deplorable

JAMMU: Former Minister and senior Congress leader, Raman Bhalla on Thursday took PDP-BJP Government head on for failing in responding to the acute sufferings of residents along International Border and Line of Control in the wake of shelling from across the border, saying they were virtually left in lurch. “The government has betrayed these hapless people, who the BJP exploited ruthlessly during 2014 elections to Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly by making promises that turned out to be just hoax”, Bhalla said while addressing a public meeting at village Chatha in  Gandhi Nagar constituency this afternoon.

He said a Border Security Force jawan was killed as Pakistani Rangers resorted to heavy mortar shelling along the international border in Arnia and R S Pura sectors late Wednesday night. Bhalla said with Modi becoming the Prime Minister, the ceasefire violations from across the border have increased manifold and militant attacks have also outnumbered. Calling the BJP and the Peoples Democratic Party coalition in Jammu and Kashmir an unnatural alliance of divisive ideologies, he said for the past few months, the ceasefire violations and militants attacks have broken all previous records and this government is dragging us into the 90s as more youths are joining militant ranks, according to agencies, he said.He added, “Modi had won 80 per cent of his election on the issue of ceasefire violations and hollow propagandas. Whenever we (UPA) wanted to hold talks with Pakistan, the BJP which was in the opposition then used to ridicule and criticize us, saying talks cannot be held while terror continues.”“Now, as the terror incidents have increased manifold, the central government led by Modi is going two steps forward and four steps backward,” he said.

Steep rise in prices of fruits and vegetables have forced over 55 per cent of middle and low income groups to switch over to pre-cooked and ready-to-eat food items to keep the kitchen budget intact.“Middle income group and lower income group find difficult to manage the household budget. In last three years, the salary of average common man have gone up by 10-15 per cent but on the other side the prices of vegetables have also gone up by 250-300 per cent,” said former minister and senior Congress leader Raman Bhalla  today while addressing women in large number.Bhalla said that the prices of most of the widely consumed vegetables have shot up during the last two weeks in most parts of the country with the early onset of monsoon rains, seriously hitting the common man. He said the  soaring prices of fruits and vegetables have put household budget in a state of disarray.He alleged that State Government has also failed to contain the rising prices of fruits and vegetables. The supply of milk, egg and fruits like pomegranate has trickled. Not only farmers, but traders, vendors and customers are too suffering due to this, he added.Non-vegetarians are also facing a tough time with the rising price of chicken and fish. “The price of chicken has increased by Rs 10 per kg while that of fish has increased by about Rs 20-Rs 30 compared to last week. Prices of food and other essential commodities are spiraling up like nobody’s business and common people are groping for a respite. The present inflation, which is driven by the prices of food grains, pulses, vegetables and fruits, is not a demand-driven inflation, but is the result of the failure of the Government policy on the agricultural front to raise output.

Trashing the poor record card of the present dispensation, Bhalla said that over the last three years of PDP-BJP Government in two spells brought just miseries to the people, as development and implementation of various welfare schemes remained a far cry due to naivety and inexperience of the BJP. He said both the coalition partners worked at cross purposes as a result of which the people remained at the receiving end. He referred to the non-disbursement of compensation to those hit by rains during the past two years and said the border victims got just nothing. Govt must take cue from the BJP legislators who  left their own government red faced in J&K by questioning the functioning of the coalition government with PDP. J&K assembly speaker Kavinder Gupta accused Deputy CM Nirmal Singh of breaching protocol. The Opposition immediately lent him support by raising slogans against the government and then staging a brief walkout from the Assembly. Earlier, senior BJP legislator Choudhary Sukhnandan said the previous NC-Congress government was better than the incumbent dispensation. "The earlier government was better than this government. At least, they would listen and solve our problems. I am happy in Opposition," said Sukhnandan, attracting a thunderous applause from the opposition benches.The BJP legislator also criticized the budget, saying that the finance minister has focused on horticulture of Kashmir and has offered nothing to farmers in Jammu region.

 Bhalla said that while the coalition government has failed in reaching out to the suffering border residents and those who have been affected by the rains and flash floods during the past two years, the overall scenario across the state is horribly pathetic. He said the utility services like power, drinking water and health has been deplorable while the availability of rations at the sale outlets has been scarce. The former minister charged the PDP and BJP of working at cross purposes, saying the people are suffering adversely as a consequence. He said the people of the state have realised futility of reposing their trust to the coalition which has failed on all fronts. The situation on development front in particular is alarming in remote and far-off areas while resentment is brewing among educated unemployed, as the government has failed in creating opportunities for them. He said the daily wagers have been forced to take to streets for seeking regularisation, the old-age and widows are running helter-skelter for their pensions. “The PDP-BJP government as failed on all fronts”, Bhalla said.

“The duplicity of BJP for the sake of power is totally exposed. BJP forgot the slogans made during elections and betrayed their electorate; as a result there is strong resentment and anger against the present dispensation in the State. There seems no headway to the deteriorated security situation in the State,” said Bhalla . “I want to ask the prime minister that he would not tolerate such things (then) why is the country of 125 crore suffering silently” said Bhalla . “Unfortunately, a government formed in haste, steeped in greed of power and has not been able to function for a single week in Jammu and Kashmir,” he claimed.“The BJP with all its rhetoric on nationalism is failing to handle Jammu and Kashmir day by day and has adopted a completely directionless and embarrassing policy towards dealing with Pakistan,” he remarked.He said the people are suffering due to developmental inertia, as the present dispensation has not only abandoned the schemes initiated by the Congress led government but also failed to take up new projects as per needs of the people.

Hitting out at BJP for failing people of Jammu by disrespecting their massive mandate, Bhalla said that despite being in power at the Centre and in the State the party failed miserably on governance front.“In fact BJP was never ever serious on delivering promises during its two and half years mis-rule in collaboration with PDP, as getting glued to power was its single-point and ultimate agenda. Bhalla charged BJP of playing politics of opportunism and said failure on all fronts has now started boomeranging with discredited party leaders desperately grappling with people’s ire. He challenged BJP to spell out just ten achievements of any consequence during the past more than two years and said except for having remained intoxicated by power they have nothing to showcase. Bhalla said people of Jammu will never forgive the BJP for treachery and deceit, as their pride has been bartered for few loaves of power. “Jammu interest has been made subservient to personal ambitions”, he said and questioned BJP’s moral authority in facing people again after putting the State in a spell of unprecedented political uncertainty and mess.

He said that Govt failed in generating employment opportunities, fight against terrorism, maintaining law and order to restore peace in the state, adding that similar is the position of BJP Govt in the Centre. He said that the present chaos in the State is a result of coalition failure which was ultimately gifted by BJP. Bhalla launching a scathing attack on BJP-PDP coalition for prevailing mess and uncertainty in State, regretted that during the last three years, the present regime has spoiled the peaceful atmosphere which was achieved by the previous Government. He accused BJP for its failure to make functional the administrative units created by previous Government to provide door step, effective and easy administrative facility for all. He said that the failure of the Government exposed the real face of BJP and its leadership before the public of the region. He appealed all the Jammuites to unite and fight for common cause of the region like equal share in employment and funds.

Bhalla said that the previous Government had given Panchayats monitoring powers of 14 departments, but instead of making the institution more powerful as promised by these parties they have even snatched the monitoring powers from them and they are not being consulted in any of the government activity in their area of responsibility and jurisdiction as per JKPR act 1989 .Describing the present Government a complete failure and against the expectations of the people, he said that the Congress will not see the situation as mute spectator but will come on streets soon. He said that the appointment of officers in Jammu and Kashmir regions on key posts indicates that both the parties have divided the State and it will have dangerous consequences in future. ” Being a community leaders at grass root level it is our responsibility to check these things”, he said adding that both these parties had made ties in the name of development but the fact is that no developmental work was going in any area of the State even the victims of natural calamities of the State were still waiting for compensation.

Describing Congress Party as an instrument of service to the people and having always worked for upliftment and well being of the people keeping aside their caste, colour, region or religion, Bhalla said that Congress Party has always defeated the autocratic behavior of those who believe in suppressing or oppressing and victimizing the masses or opponents while in power. Bhalla said that Congress Party has always been desirous to take everyone on board with regard to equal development of all the three regions of the State and people, has determination to address issues confronting people of the state, as this party (Congress) alone had delivered enough and remained committed to make the State of Jammu and Kashmir a progressive and developed one. He said that in far-flung area of the state where people are facing great hardships on account of healthcare, education, road connectivity, power & drinking water facilities and said that the such areas should get special attention of the government to provide adequate basic facilities to the people in all spheres of life, but it is unfortunate that the present coalition government has neglected these areas in every sphere of life and people are left on the mercy of God.

People voted for BJP because it had promised that Jammu region will not be neglected. They were told that for the first time the chief minister of the state will be from Jammu region, but it is very disappointing that BJP bowed down to the PDP to come to power. The party also took a U-turn on various other issues, which would cost them in future,” Bhalla maintained. BJP at the time of ironing out a Common Minimum Programme (CMP), compromised on various issues, probably to grab the chance to occupy the treasury benches for the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. Statements and systematic U-turns by the BJP from the promises it made in CMP are to cover the lost ground in Jammu region, where the party is facing heat from the common people and within its folds. The BJP and PDP leaderships have different views on various others issues which is making it more difficult for the coalition partners to hid the rift within the government.