Prasad, Goyal, Irani, Pokhryal, Dr Jitendra among 60 Union Ministers to visit J&K

Centre’s outreach programme from Jan 18-24

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Jan 14: The Central Government today released schedule of its massive public outreach programme in Jammu and Kashmir on abrogation of special Constitutional provisions of the erstwhile State and converting J&K into a Union Territory which will last a week from January 18-24 during which 60 Central Ministers will cover districts, tehsils and even blocks of the UT to aware the people about advantages of the Central Government decision.
Law, Justice and Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, Human Resources Development Minister Romesh Chander Pokhryal ‘Nishank’, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Zubin Irani, Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda and Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh are among those who will be visiting Jammu and Kashmir, addressing rallies, inter-acting with people and briefing them on the benefits the people will have following abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A and conversion of the State into Union Territory.
“The Union Ministry of Home Affairs today forwarded schedule of the visit of 60 Ministers to Jammu and Kashmir in one week to the Union Territory Government,’’ the UT Government sources told the Excelsior.
They said on first day of the public outreach programme, three Ministers will visit Jammu and Kashmir while in rest of six days, eight to 10 Ministers will tour different parts of the Union Territory every day to counter the Opposition propaganda that land and job rights of the people of J&K will be snatched following abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A and converting the State into Union Territory.
As exclusively reported by the Excelsior today, the public outreach programme of the Central Government on Jammu and Kashmir was similar on the lines of just concluded programme on the Citizenship Amendment Act, which the Government feels, proved very successful in dispelling misgivings among the people created by certain Opposition parties especially the Congress.
Sources said the Government wanted to extend the programme for about a fortnight but it was cut short to week as it feels that the Election Authority was likely to impose Model Code of Conduct in Jammu and Kashmir in last week of January after announcement of by-elections to over 13,000 vacant Panchayat seats. Visits by the Ministers after announcement of the by-elections would have been violation of Model Code of Conduct, they added.
A total of 55-60 blocks will be covered by the Union Ministers in Jammu division and 20-25 blocks in Kashmir division apart from districts and tehsil headquarters. Programmes will also be held in the twin capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar.
On first day of campaign on January 18, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh will address a function at Jammu Convention Centre while Union Ministers Arjun Ram Meghwal and Ashwani Choubey will address rallies at Purmandal and Samba respectively, sources said.
They added that on January 19, Union Minister, Samriti Irani will address a rally at Reasi, Dr Jitendra Singh at Udhampur, Mahinder Nath Pandey in Jammu, Arjun Ram Meghwal and V Muralitharan in Kathua while on January 20, Piyush Goyal and Anurag Thakur will tour Akhnoor and Nagrota, Ashwani Choubey will visit Ghagwal while RK Singh will address rallies at Chenani and Doda.
Gen VK Singh, RK Singh, Partap Solanki and Debashree Choudhary were scheduled to address rallies on January 21 while Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Arjun Munda, VK Singh, Kiren Rijiju, Kailash Choudhary, Hardeep Singh Puri, Thawar Chand Gehlot and Santosh Gangwar will be hold public outreach programmes on January 22.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, Romesh Chander Pokhryal ‘Nishank’, Prahlad Joshi, Giriraj Singh, Sripad Naik, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyot and Renuka Singh will be visiting different parts of the Union Territory on January 23.
“A set of losses Jammu and Kashmir suffered in view of applicability of Articles 370 and 35-A and the benefits it will have now are being drafted by top brass of Narendra Modi Government on which the people will be made aware,’’ sources said, adding that the Centre planned to reach every nook and corner of the Union Territory including the remotest areas so that people could know how they will be benefited in the wake of abrogation of the two Articles as well as conversion of the erstwhile State into the Union Territory.
While the Opposition is campaigning that the people of Jammu and Kashmir will lose land and jobs to outsiders following abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A, sources said, the Central Ministers will make the people aware that their land and jobs will be protected under domicile rights and, in addition, it will create more job opportunities as industries, big hotels and private sector will come to the Union Territory which earlier were not coming to the erstwhile State due to special Constitutional provisions.
On Opposition’s campaign that the State has been downgraded to the Union Territory, the Central Ministers will explain to the people that now all Central laws have been made applicable to the UT and regional discrimination in development, jobs etc will end. Further, the creation of Union Territory will lead to massive development as various Central schemes will be directly implemented in the UT.