Assembly election in J&K, Statehood next steps: Shah

Assembly election in J&K, Statehood next steps: Shah
Assembly election in J&K, Statehood next steps: Shah

‘Successful polls success of Modi Govt’

*BJP working on strengthening organisation in Valley

New DELHI, May 26:

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said that the Modi Government’s Kashmir policy has been vindicated by the successful polling in Jammu and Kashmir, where even separatists have voted “overwhelmingly”, as he assured that the Assembly elections in the region will be held before September 30.

Follow the Daily Excelsior channel on WhatsApp  

Once the elections are over, the Government will start the process of restoring statehood to the Union Territory, Shah said in an interview to PTI late Saturday.
“I have said in Parliament that we will give the Statehood after the Assembly elections,” he said, adding that everything is going according to plan, such as the surveys of the backward classes and delimitation exercise of the Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies.
“We have completed the delimitation process. Because the reservation can be given only after the delimitation process is completed. Because we have to know about the status of various castes (to give reservation). That has been done. Lok Sabha election is also over (in Jammu and Kashmir). Next is the assembly election which will also be held. We will complete the process before the Supreme Court deadline,” he said.
On December 11, 2023, the Supreme Court had directed the Election Commission of India to conduct elections in Jammu and Kashmir by September 30, 2024.

Commenting on the relatively high polling percentage in the Kashmir valley in the Lok Sabha elections, Shah said he believed that there has been a big change in attitudes there.
“Voting percentage has increased. Some people used to say that people of the valley do not believe in the Indian Constitution. But this election was held under the Indian Constitution because Kashmir’s Constitution is no longer there. It was scrapped. Election was held under Indian Constitution. People who sought a separate country, those who want to go with Pakistan — even they cast their votes overwhelmingly, both at the organisation level as well as individual people,” he said.
Shah said “it was a very big victory for the democracy and a big success of the Narendra Modi Government’s Kashmir policy, which it has been pursuing for the last 10 years.”
The three seats in the Kashmir valley — Srinagar (38.49 per cent), Baramulla (59.1 per cent) and Anantnag-Rajouri (53 per cent) — have recorded the highest voter turnout “in many decades”, the Election Commission said.
When asked why the BJP did not field any candidate in the Lok Sabha elections in the Kashmir valley, he said the party was still working on strengthening its organisation in the valley.
“We will definitely put up our candidates in future. Our organisation is getting expanded and our organisation is under process of strengthening,” he added.
Asked about the possibility of merger of Pakistan-occuped Jammu Kashmir(PoJK) with Jammu and Kashmir, Shah said it is his personal belief that PoJK could have been part of India in 1947-48, but it got away because of what he said was premature ceasefire by the Jawaharlal Nehru Government in the first war with Pakistan over the region.
“Had the ceasefire been declared four days later, PoJK would have been with us,” he said, adding that the possible merger of PoJK with Jammu Kashmir can only be decided after lots of serious discussions.
“Because this is an issue which is very important for the country,” he said.
He pointed out that the merger of PoJK is part of BJP’s manifesto.
“Besides, there was a Parliamentary resolution on it … Unanimous resolution. The Congress party may not realise that they have also voted for it,” he said.
Shah asserted that the BJP will get a bigger win in opposition-ruled States due to a “positive mandate” for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls, as he slammed the opposition’s criticism of the Election Commission as a ploy to cover up for its impending loss.
Shah claimed that his party has not resorted to any religion-based campaign but insisted that if canvassing against reservation for Muslims, and reaching out to voters on the abolition of Article 370 and implementing a Uniform Civil Code is religion-based campaign, then the BJP has done it and will continue doing so.
As Modi has brought to fruition the BJP’s core ideological plans, be it the poor’s welfare, a secure country, abrogation of Article 370, a uniform law (UCC) across the country, women’s reservation and Ram temple, his popularity naturally becomes the strength of the BJP, he added. “He is our biggest leader.”
He accused the main opposition party of misleading people on the issue of Muslim reservation, insisting that its accusation that the BJP has been telling a lie rings hollow as it has already implemented such a religious quota in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
“If they divide the truth in pieces to mislead people, then isn’t it our duty to put these pieces together and inform people,” he said, defending Modi’s intense attack on the Congress over the religious quota and the issue of redistribution of wealth.
“You might have heard and understood Rahul Gandhi’s X-ray speech. So you want X-ray of what? And if you want to distribute it equally, then who will you distribute to? Manmohan Singh Ji said minorities are their priority. What do you make of this,” he asked when questioned about the Congress’ allegations against Modi.
Shah said a Uniform Civil Code for the entire country will be implemented within the next five years after extensive consultations with all stakeholders if the BJP returns to power.
Shah said the Modi Government in its next term will also implement ‘One Nation, One Election’ as the time has come for the elections to be held simultaneously in the country.(PTI)