The Congress is the only party which can guarantee communal harmony, safety and all-round development, said Vikramaditya Singh, the candidate for Udhampur parliamentary seat, as he kick-started his campaign from Kathua district on Saturday.
The 54-year-old grandson of last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh and son of Congress leader Karan Singh addressed a rally at Ramleela ground with senior party leaders, including state president G A Mir, and asked the people of Jammu and Kashmir to strengthen his hands.
“I am lucky to be part of a party which has played a great role in taking the country to great heights…My family has served the people of the state for centuries and I am hopeful of getting support to serve them again,” he said.
The former member of the state legislative council had joined the Congress on October 11 last year after ending an over two-year stint with the PDP over the alleged failure of the BJP-PDP government to address issues linked with the aspirations of the people of Jammu region.
The Udhampur constituency is spread over the six districts of Kathua, Udhampur, Reasi, Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar, covering 17 assembly constituencies.
“It is a big responsibility and I am hopeful of getting the cooperation of the people as the Congress is the only party which can guarantee communal harmony, safety and all-round development,” Singh said.
He praised National Conference president Farooq Abdullah for reaching a seat-sharing agreement with his party and urged NC workers to support him in bringing change in the country which, he said, was inevitable.
Singh took a dig at the BJP and alleged that it could go to any extent for the greed of power.
“I appeal to voters to cast their votes on the merit of the candidates without getting mislead by propaganda, slogans and promises. We should not repeat the mistake of 2014,” he said, assuring that the Congress will fulfil its promises.
The Udhampur seat is going to witness a contest among the Congress, the BJP and the Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan, founded by former BJP minister Choudhary Lal Singh.
Union minister Jitendra Singh is seeking re-election from the seat on the BJP ticket after wresting it from the Congress in 2014 with a margin of 60,976 votes.
Lal Singh, who had earlier won the seat twice for Congress, is likely to file his nomination papers next week.
The process of nomination in the constituency began on March 19 and it will continue till March 26.
Vikramadatiya Singh had earlier announced that he will file his nomination papers before addressing the rally but changed his plan after finding out that Saturday was a holiday.
However, the news of a holiday triggered a protest by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) activists against the Election Commission in Jammu.
The BSP activists led by state president Som Raj Majotra protest outside the Press Club Jammu, alleging that they were not informed about the holiday in advance and had to postpone the filing of nominations at the last moment.
“We have made all necessary arrangements for filing of nomination papers by our candidates but were informed that Saturday is a holiday. Earlier, the Election Commission used to function all days of the week and even received nomination papers on Sunday,” Majotra said.
He claimed the poll body was working as a puppet in the hands of the saffron party.