JAMMU, Sept 29: Commenting on the emerging trends in the ongoing local body election process in Jammu & Kashmir, Union Minister, in PMO with independent charge of North Eastern States, Dr Jitendra Singh said here today that BJP candidates are winning unopposed without intimidating their opponents. This, he hoped, will introduce a new political culture in a State which has, over the decades, got used to the practice of Congress and its allies, including National Conference, intimidating their opponents to withdraw their nomination papers on the day of scrutiny, in order to ensure unopposed electoral victory for themselves.
Talking to media persons soon after his arrival from the national capital today, Dr Jitendra Singh recalled that ever since the first election held in the State in early 1950s, it was the then ruling party which would issue instructions to electoral officers and Deputy Commissioners to summarily reject the papers of the non-ruling party candidates, so as to ensure that the ruling party had won the majority even before the counting of the votes took place. As the years went by, he said, the then ruling parties further sharpened their intimidatory skills, that eventually led to blatantly rigged elections, the ugliest and the most damaging fall-out of which was witnessed in the 1987 Assembly election and the consequences of that electoral high-headedness is being borne even till this day.
In the current scenario, however, Dr Jitendra Singh said, instead of intimidating the opponents, the BJP party leadership has been time and again appealing to the opposition parties to join the electoral process and contest, but wherever the opponents shied away from contesting, the people have decided to throw their might behind BJP candidates. This is a distinctly democratic phenomenon, in contrast to what was being practiced by Congress, NC and others, he added.
Reiterating that BJP is indeed a party with a difference in more ways than one, Dr Jitendra Singh said, it goes to the credit of BJP that for the first time after six decades, it made the people of India realize the true meaning of democracy, when the dynastic rule of a single family perpetuated by the Congress Party at the Centre was replaced with by a Prime Minister who had started his life’s journey from a Railway Platform. Narendra Modi today, he said, identifies with the democratic dream of the poorest of the poor to aspire to rise to the highest echelons of hierarchy. Similarly, he said, Amit Shah and his team have introduced a new work – culture in politics which Congress and its allies are finding difficult to emulate.
In Jammu & Kashmir, Dr JiItendra Singh said, the Modi Government at the Centre has not only lived up to its commitment to grant true “Autonomy” to grassroot representatives, but has also shown the courage of conviction by announcing yesterday that 29 subjects, transferred to Panchayats across India under 73rd amendment of the Constitution of India, will also be transferred to the Panchayats of the State and the financial powers of the Panchayats will also be enhanced ten times.
While Congress and its allies like National Conference talk about autonomy for themselves, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the Modi Government has shown the way by ordering that Panchayats in J&K will hereafter be involved in implementation of key national schemes. Not only this, the powers transferred to the Panchayats will include building permission fees, entertainment tax, advertisements, hoardings, etc. which will help in supplementing Panchayats own funds, he said.
Later, Dr Jitendra Singh visited Hiranagar and held an extended meeting with the BJP candidates contesting election for 13 wards falling in the Hiranagar Municipal Committee.
During nearly two-and-a-half-hour interaction, Dr Jitendra Singh engaged in one-to-one discussion with each of the candidates and listed down the various local factors affecting the election in each Ward. He also enquired about the profile of the opposing candidates. He also offered some tips for the contesting candidates about how to make their election campaign effective and successful.
MLA Hiranagar, Kuldeep Raj, BJP State vice president Harinder Gupta, State secretary, Raghunandan Singh, State OBC Cell Chairman, Rashpal Verma, district Kathua president, Prem Nath Dogra, Advocate Vijay Sharma, Janak Bharati and Ashanand were among the other prominent Party leaders present during the meeting.