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Cong needs to elaborate its perception on regional councils: Prof. Virender

BJP State Spokesperson Prof. Virender Gupta welcomes the senior Vice-President of State Congress party Sham Lal Sharma for his statement, asking for Regional Councils for all the regions of the state in order to ensure justice and equal development of all the regions. Prof. Virender asked Mr. Sharma that whether he has the consent of State Party President Ghulam Ahmed Mir and its senior Kashmir based leaders like Saif-ul-Din who have been supporting the demand of greater autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir (implied valley). He also asked Sharma to elaborate the structure of Regional Council and their powers. He asked the Congress party both at the State level and the National level to come out with a definite proposal on the issue of Regional Autonomy.

The Spokesperson emphasized that merely having regional council with Financial, administrative and legislative powers with the Kashmir oriented State Government would end into a futile exercise. He elaborated that what is the need of the hour is political, administrative and financial empowerment of all the regions, in particular Jammu and Ladakh regions. The BJP from 1990 has been supporting the demand of Autonomous Regional Councils that addresses the issue of empowerment of all the regions.

Prof. Virender Gupta said that number of proposals have been so far mooted to provide due justice to Jammu and Ladakh regions. These proposals include granting of statehood to all the three regions which was initially put forth by Jammu Mukti Morcha, Jammu State Morcha and know being supported by National Panthers Party and other Jammu based social and political organizations/ groups, he said. He added that the people of Ladakh region since long, right from the days of Kushak Bakala have been demanding for Union Territory status for the region.

Prof. Virender asked Sham Lal to ponder over the proposals of regional autonomy, recently proposed by retired Director General of Police, M.M. Khajuria and that put forth by the Ex-Commissioner cum Secretary and member of State Finance Committee, Swami Raj Sharma about 15 years back.

Prof. Virender pointed out that these proposals are identical to the concept of Autonomous Sub Statehood as was envisaged in Article 244A of Indian constitution and was applied to seven sister states in the North East. Elaborating the sub statehood concept, Prof. Virender said that Jammu & Kashmir should have three sub states for Jammu, Ladakh and Valley, with each sub state having its own legislature with all the powers that a state should have except for some of the common subjects / matters on which all the political units have consensus, and be left to the state executive councils which should have five members from each unit and work under the chairmanship of the Governor of J&K State. He further added that the Governor should be the head of the State Executive Council and there would be a common High Court.