JAMMU: Former MLC Ratan Lal Gupta was elected the National Conference provincial president for Jammu on Saturday, nearly a week after being nominated to the post following the resignation of his predecessor Devender Singh Rana.

Gupta, a lawyer, was elected to the post in a vote held under the supervision of senior NC leaders, including Sheikh Mustafa Kamaal, at the party headquarters here, a spokesperson of the outfit said.

“National Conference is the only party which can pull J-K out of the present turmoil as it has a strong base at the grassroots level,” Gupta said after his election.

On Rana and former minister S S Slathia quitting the party and joining the BJP in Delhi on October 11, Gupta said the NC is a movement and it has successfully fended off many challenges in the past.

“J-K is going through a rough phase. Every section of the society, including youth, businessmen and industrialists, are suffering immensely, and nobody is happy with the present administration,” the senior NC leader said.

He said NC workers have pledged to strengthen the party further at the grassroots level to overcome this situation.

“We will follow the guidelines of the party leadership and reach out to the masses at their doorsteps to provide assistance.

The National Conference is like a fortress, and our activists will fight tooth and nail in the upcoming elections,” Gupta said.

He exuded confidence that the National Conference would fight the upcoming assembly elections on every seat across the Jammu region and emerge victorious.

“We have a strong base in Nagrota, the constituency won by Rana in the 2014 Assembly elections. All the leaders from the constituency, including corporators, DDC and BDC members and party functionaries, attended the meeting,” Gupta said.

The NC is the only party with a strong presence in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, and it has never indulged in the politics of discrimination, he said, adding, “Our governments in the past have always ensured balanced development of all the three regions.”

“The bifurcation of the erstwhile J-K state was not a good step. Our party has taken a stand (on the issue of revocation of Article 370), and we will continue the struggle under the leadership of party president Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah as we believe Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh is a single entity and are strong together,” Gupta said.

Every NC activist is a dedicated soldier of the party and would stand up to the prevailing challenges for the betterment of the society, he added.


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