People in J&K witnessing grassroot democracy first time: Dr Jitendra

Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh addressing a public rally in Anantnag on Monday. -Excelsior/Shakeel
Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh addressing a public rally in Anantnag on Monday. -Excelsior/Shakeel

‘NC, PDP MPs didn’t raise Article 370 in Parl’

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Nov 30 : Senior BJP leader and Union Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh today said that people of Jammu and Kashmir are for the first time tasting the real self-rule and autonomy after a gap of 73 years.
Addressing a press conference here today, he said that people of J&K are first time witnessing the grassroot democracy flourishing in the form of Panchayati Raj System.
“It is for the first time that grassroot democracy is seeing light of the day in J&K after a gap of 73 years. From past over 50 years, regional parties have been beating the drums of autonomy and self-rule”, Dr Singh said.

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Lashing out on regional mainstream political parties, Dr Singh said that they always wanted autonomy, self-rule and other perks for themselves.
“Basically, they wanted autonomy and self-rule for themselves by winning elections with just 10 per cent voting while common people of Kashmir were always befooled over hollow slogans,” he added.
The BJP leader said if local politicians who have been beating the drums over revocation of Article 370 were so outraged, they should have simply resigned from the Parliament. “Why didn’t they do it and go back to the people with the same issue. Instead, they decided to sit in the Parliament and enjoy perks. Three National Conference MPs and two from the PDP were present in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha when the announcement of scrapping of Articles 370 and 35 A was made,” he said, adding that “all remained silent and didn’t raise voice then.”
The Parliament, he said, represents 1.35 crore people including those from J&K. “The NC and PDP MPs preferred to enjoy perks rather than resigning over Article 370 revocation,” he added.
He said that the only issue with Pakistan is the resolution passed in the Parliament in 1994 that State’s, other part of Kashmir under Pakistan, isunder the illegal control and need to be retrieved.
He said that the DDC elections, the phase two of which is going to be held tomorrow, is basically a pledge of Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards people of J&K to realize the real meaning of democracy at the grassroots level. “I would say that this is the beginning of a new chapter in the history of democracy in Kashmir,” the top BJP leader said, adding that the ensuing elections is also a chance for the introspection of people of J&K. “People will not enjoy the rule of the self, not self-rule of politicians,” he said.
Dr Singh said that in the first phase of polling where over 50 per cent voting was recorded, the percentage is much higher than the previous Lok Sabha elections. “In Lok Sabha elections, people had got disillusioned and their aspirations were also disillusioned. Politicians managed to win in just 10 per cent polling and entered in the Parliament,” he said. “Today’s elections are an aspirational outlet, through local self-governance and it’s a reflection of peoples’ enthusiasm”, he added.
On the Roshni Scheme, the BJP leader said that anybody who is found involved would be taken to task.
He said that the regional parties have got unnerved with the poll percentage in DDC polls. “Over 50 per cent turn out in DDC polls has unnerved them. Had there been less than 10 per cent voting, these parties would have been crying like anything and attributing it to the resentment against Article 370 revocation,” he said.
Dr Singh said that militancy in J&K has become a vested interest for a large section that includes the political spectrum, business world and Roshni scam is its one aspect.
Replying to a query on the regularization of daily wagers, he said BJP is committed to redeem the sins of its predecessors. “First who employed Rahbar-e-Zirat, Rahbar-e-Taleem and the fact is that these people were employed after cash deals and through backdoor. We are sorting it out as to how they can be regularized,” he said.
On restoration of 4-G mobile internet services, Dr Singh said that BJP and its political leaders have no objection to the restoration of high speed internet but there are some security concerns which need to be addressed.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said today that Kashmir is ushering in a new dawn of democracy, which is truly going to be people’s democracy and not a democracy held to ransom by any dynasty.
Addressing a public meeting at Khanabal on the first day of his election tour of Kashmir valley, Dr. Jitendra Singh asked, why the “Gupkar” parties including the National Conference, PDP and Congress had all along resisted attempts to hold Panchayat elections and consciously held back the implementation of the 73rd and 74th Amendments of the Constitution as well as the constituting of the District Development Councils.
Brushing aside the accusation by certain Gupkar leaders that BJP was uncomfortable because of their decision to participate in the election, Dr Jitendra Singh said, “we believe in democracy and anybody or everybody can come forward to test his fortunes in the election, but expressed confidence that on the day of counting of votes,people will send the signal to convey to the whole world that they stand with Bharatiya Janata Party because this is a party which believes in the rule of the masses and not of dynasty.”
BJP J&K general secretary Vibodh Gupta and BJP J&K Morcha Incharge Munish Sharma were also present at the public rally.
Soon after his arrival at the summer capital this morning, Dr Jitendra Singh accompanied by Vibodh Gupta and Munish Sharma paid a visit to Gurdwara Palampura and paid obeisance on the occasion of Gurpurab.