SRINAGAR: Opposition PDP today said the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, beginning next month, would be crucial to safeguard the interests of the state, in the resolution of the problem and in securing the rights of the people "within the Union".
"The implications of the upcoming elections are beyond government formation and the results would be crucial to safeguarding interests of the state, resolution of Kashmir problem and securing the rights of Jammu and Kashmir within the Union," PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said addressing party workers here.
Sayeed said the elections offer a "historic opportunity" to the people of the state to assert their identity, political rights and constitutional distinction.
"Upcoming elections are crucial in many senses and the people could utilise this opportunity to assert their democratic rights to give a positive turn to the situation which has witnessed deterioration during last six years," he said.
The PDP patron said his party provides a platform for reconciliation, resolution and reconstruction and if voted to power it would carry forward the mission for peace and dignity that it had undertaken in 2002 when it first came to power.
The former chief minister said the grey areas in the political scene of the state have disappeared and the people were now fully aware about the performance of every party seeking their votes.
"I hope the vote this time is used with wisdom and discretion so as to elect a party with a clear majority which can address the challenges facing the state," he said.
Cautioning the people against fragmentation of votes, Sayeed said it was important to convey a message of unity and political maturity in order to grapple with the challenges and problems facing the state.
"The fragmentation of votes had, in the last elections (in 2008), resulted in the formation of a government which neither had any political agenda nor a commitment towards the people of the state.
"Mere numerical strength in assembly by making alliances without a political objective or development goals cost the state dearly during the last six years. We need to come out of the fixation that coalitions are inevitable," the former Chief Minister said.
The PDP leader said if at the national level and in major states like UP, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu people can give a decisive mandate to a single party for effective governance, there was no reason why Jammu and Kashmir could not do similarly as it had a history of giving massive mandates in the past to a single party.
"This time PDP eminently qualifies for people's trust and vote. The party has during the last decade or so grown as a platform for connecting various regions of the state and has tried to pull the state politics out of the traditional mode which often ended up in lack of cohesion between different regions and communities.
"PDP is now a party with a strong cadre and political base throughout the state and can genuinely claim to address the issues facing all regions and sub regions," he said.
Sayeed said PDP was the only antidote to the "communal polarisation" that "marked" the last general elections in the state.
"When we talk of resolving Kashmir we mean establishing friendly relations between our country and Pakistan and making Jammu and Kashmir a bridge between the two countries rather than a bone of contention which the two armies have been fighting each other for the last seven decades causing immense misery to people of all regions of the state," he said.
Sayeed said the next six years were crucial for not only ensuring good governance but accomplishing the challenging task of rebuilding safe, sustainable and planned infrastructure in the state especially in the aftermath of the devastating floods that hit the state last month.