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Ready to sacrifice anything for people of Jammu; don't need anyone's certificate on secularism: Rana

JAMMU: Nearly a week after joining the BJP, former legislator Devender Singh Rana Saturday said the 'Jammu declaration', which is yet to take shape, forms the basis of his 'political agenda' and he is ready to sacrifice anything for the people of Jammu region.

Rana also said he does not need to answer anyone or seek a certificate to prove his secular credentials.

"My people know me very well and I know them as well." ''I am grateful to the people including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians who have come from different parts of Jammu and showered their love on me...this should serve as a referendum for the Jammu declaration,'' Rana, who quit the National Conference on October 10, told reporters at his residence after he was accorded a grand welcome on his return from Delhi.

Rana, younger brother of Union minister Jitendra Singh, had taken over the post of Provincial president of National Conference in 2011 after relinquishing his office as political advisor to the then chief minister Omar Abdullah.

He along with senior party colleague and former minister Surjeet Singh Slathia joined BJP in the Delhi on Monday.

''The Jammu declaration is my political agenda. Some people ask what the Jammu declaration is and for them, I want to say it is a concept which is developing and whose base has been set up. Like the Gupkar declaration (an amalgam of various mainstream parties including NC and PDP who came together to seek restoration of Article 370) which is also a concept and the contours of which will be completed with consultations of the people,'' he said. Rana said a declaration cannot be formed by one man. ''When Jammu declaration will be formed, it will be the political, social, economic and cultural narrative of the whole J&K. Jammu has equal right to speak for the whole of J & K and God willing, we will raise a voice full of energy.'' The BJP leader said his character will prove his credentials. ''I do not need to answer anyone or seek a certificate from anyone. My people know me very well and I know them as well.'' Rana said he is ready to make any sacrifice for the people of Jammu region. ''The challenges and opportunities in J&K are enormous. We will try to deal with the challenges and make full use of opportunities for the welfare of the entire Jammu and Kashmir and Jammu region in particular,'' he said.

Earlier, addressing his supporters who turned up in thousands and accorded him a rousing reception at the Jammu airport before accompanying him in a procession to his Gandhi Nagar residence, Rana said now the voice of J&K will come from Jammu which should get its "rightful place".

On January 30, Rana proposed the 'Jammu declaration', a charter to forge unity and reinforce trust between diverse communities and divergent regions of Jammu and Kashmir.

Slathia also addressed the gathering and thanked the people for their love.

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