It will be a low-key anniversary for Mufti Govt.

Srinagar Nov. 1. The celebration of the completion of one year in office by Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, who was sworn in on November 2, 2002, as Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, is to be a low-key affair.

To mark the occasion, tomorrow, the Chief Minister has decided to hold a public rally in Ganderbal, once a stronghold of the Abdullah family. It was in this segment that the National Conference president, Omar Abdullah, was trounced by a little known PDP leader, Qazi Afzal.

The one year of the Mufti Government has been eventful. A record 1.75 lakh tourists visited the State. In 2002, about 22,000 tourists had come visiting. Violence levels continued to be high but changes were perceptible on the ground too. The ruling People's Democratic Party organised more than 150 public rallies in various parts of the State and for the first time in 13 years, considerable public attendance was noticed during the rallies in militant-infested areas such as Shopian, Kupwara, Budhal and Gool.

Criticism apart, observers praise the State Government for the increased accessibility of the Chief Minister and his colleagues. On the negative side, administrative inertia continues to be rampant and policy implementation is poor.

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Sayeed pointed out that in the last one year he had tried to chart out a road map and reach out to the people.

"I look forward to the new year with hope and my foremost priority for the second year is to see the road map implemented. It is the implementation on which I am concentrating in the second year, " he said.

On the issue of region tensions, he said, "we are trying our best to provide justice to all regions of the State.

This is a government of all regions and every part will be treated equally."

Appeal to militants

Addressing a rally to mark the completion of one year of his rule, Mr. Sayeed, made a passionate appeal to the militants to return home in a dignified manner and lead a normal life happily with their kith and kin, adding that they should realise that taking arms was purposeless and without any objective.

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