Sajad Gani Lone took oath of office as President of Peoples Conference (PC) on yesterday.

He took the oath in presence of the PC General Council, which forms the Electoral College for the election of the president of the party.

PC’s Chairman Election Authority Basharat Bukhari administered the oath to Lone.

Top leadership of the party along with delegates comprising the PC’s General Council attended the oath ceremony.

Lone was elected president of PC unopposed earlier this month.

Addressing a gathering after the oath-taking ceremony, Lone described the current times as “distinctively painful” and “politically unique” in terms of the challenges that it poses to the different sections of the leadership in J&K.

He said that the leadership had different definitions at different times and in present times, the leadership would entail saving people, preserving youth and speaking the truth to the people.

Lone said that one of the easiest things in politics was to resort to lies and innuendo and the most difficult thing is to speak the truth in the face of adversity.

“We in the PC will strive to ensure that we speak the truth and lead with honesty and courage. It’s time that the leadership variables are reset. Let leaders lead with the courage to speak the truth. Let people of J&K follow those who speak the truth. Safeguarding the interests of the people of J&K, especially the youth, is the biggest leadership challenge in current times and PC will do everything in its power to protect a common Kashmiri from being victimised.”

Lone said that PC was the party that had the legacy of sacrifice and would continue to strive to accord people a dignified way of living.

“We will make every effort to promote political inclusiveness and tirelessly strive to restore and retrieve the glorious political legacy that the people of J&K deserve, a unique legacy, which we all cherished and zealously guarded for so long. We will do what it takes to ensure that legacy is restored,” he said.

Hitting hard on regional mainstream political parties, Lone said those who don’t want to talk about 1987 elections, which were rigged in broad daylight, would never understand Kashmir issue.

“Had 1987 not happened, the gun would not have infiltrated here,” Lone said.

Blaming National Conference (NC) for poll rigging in 1987, he said, “Who filled these graveyards? No one is asking this question.”

He said, “If anyone in Kashmir had provided meals to militants he is being summoned and questioned by agencies but why those were being spared unpunished who rigged polls in broad daylight in 1987. Why they were not being quizzed?”

Lone said that the NC had no right to claim to lead the people when they were responsible for the mess people were in.