J&K Gets First Pre-Poll Alliance In Run-Up To Assembly Polls


Shah Faesal launched his party in March this year


The Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement headed by former bureaucrat Shah Faesal Tuesday forged a pre-poll alliance in the state with the Awami Ittehad Party led by former MLA Sheikh Abdul Rasheed.

Shah Faesal and Sheikh Abdul Rasheed announced the pre-poll alliance at a crowded press conference in Srinagar, naming the coalition as the Peoples United Front (PUF).

The assembly elections in the state are likely to be held after the Amarnath Yatra this year.

Former PDP leader Javed Mustafa Mir, who joined hands with Shah Faesal earlier this year, said the two parties have decided to forge the pre-poll alliance owing to the prevailing situation and political uncertainty in the state.

"There are assaults on the special position of the state and there is a lack of credible political alternative. There is no political force that can give good governance and fill the political vacuum," Mr Mir told reporters.

Javed Mustafa Mir has been appointed as the head of the three-member coordination committee of the PUF.

The new formation released a 45-point "common agenda for the alliance" aimed at pursuing and facilitating "the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue in its historical context as per the will, aspirations and sacrifices of the people of erstwhile J&K state".

The agenda also aims at supporting all confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan to secure relief for the people on both sides of the Line of Control.

Addressing the regional aspirations, undoing the erosion of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, facilitating the return of Kashmiri Pandits and release of all political detainees are other main goals of the agenda of the new alliance.

Former MLA from Langate, Mr Rasheed said the agenda of the two parties is that of hope and they will not let the people down.

"Right now, we feel really let down due to lack of credible leadership," he said.

Mr Rasheed unsuccessfully contested the recent Lok Sabha polls from Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency but put in a splendid show by taking lead in five of the 15 assembly segments that constitute the parliamentary seat.

Shah Faesal, who quit the government service in January this year, had extended support to Mr Rasheed's candidature.

The 2010 UPSC examination topper had expressed willingness to contest the Lok Sabha polls at the time of resigning but later decided against it.

Several young and aspiring politicians including former JNU student leader Shehla Rashid have joined Shah Faesal's JKPM since its formation this March.

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