Rising voter turnout indicative of declining dynasty politics in Kashmir: Dr Jitendra

Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh in an exclusive conversation with national TV channel NDTV on Monday.
Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh in an exclusive conversation with national TV channel NDTV on Monday.

Excelsior Correspondent

NEW DELHI, May 20: Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said here today that rising voter turnout is indicative of declining dynasty politics in the Kashmir valley.
In an exclusive conversation with national TV channel NDTV in which Dr. Jitendra Singh discussed various aspects of ongoing general elections, particularly in Jammu & Kashmir and West Bengal where he was assigned Phase 5 constituencies, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, nothing augurs better for a healthy democracy than to see progressively rising voter turnout in the Kashmir valley constituencies where the polling has been held so far in phase 4 and phase 5 respectively. He said, it is a remarkable departure from the times when the people of the Valley were constrained to elect their representatives for Lok Sabha and State Assembly with a voter turnout of hardly 10% or even lesser than that.
Accusing the dynasty driven political parties of Kashmir valley for not allowing true democracy to usher in the Valley, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, for over three decades, the elections were held in the shadow of Pak-sponsored terrorism, and it suited the dynastic regional parties of Kashmir valley to get these elections conducted with a limited voter turnout under the fear of gun and manage majority for themselves in the Assembly and the Lok Sabha. He said, it suited these political parties to allow the spell of terrorism to continue indefinitely so that their family rule could thrive from generation to generation.
Dr. Jitendra Singh recalled that once he had suggested on the floor of Parliament that there should be some minimum threshold of voter turnout for a Member of Parliament to be recognised as having been elected. He said, it was ridiculous that in a constituency with 17 to 18 lakh voters, sometimes a few thousands votes would be cast and the candidate would get himself declared as elected without actually enjoying the representative character of the vast constituency.
Gone are the days, said Dr. Jitendra Singh, when the Hartal call was made from Islamabad in Pakistan and the shops got shut at Lal Chowk in Srinagar. He credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for having introduced for the first time District Development Councils in Jammu & Kashmir which gave the people an experience of what the grassroot democracy actually meant. He said, this is quite a paradox because for all these decades the dynasty driven political parties of the Kashmir valley have been befooling people in the name of “Self Rule” or “autonomy”, but were not ready to allow District Development Council elections or introduce 73, 74 Amendments of the Constitution which gave self-empowerment to Panchayats and other local bodies.
About the West Bengal election in phase 5, Dr. Jitendra Singh exuded confidence that in the ongoing election, the State of West Bengal will continue the trend of highest voter turnout among all the States and Union Territories of the country.