A word about delimitation of assembly constituencies, freezed since 2002 by the then Farooq Abdullah Government, is making rounds only to send shivers down the spines of those who had played with J&K Representation of the People Act 1957 and amended section 47(3) pushing delimitation beyond 2026. With Amit Shah in the chair as union home minister this is something which is happening on expected lines but to be more precise National Democratic Alliance (NDA-II) is trying to do more than what’s looking to the eye viz-a-viz Jammu and Kashmir.
When it comes to Jammu and Kashmir, several institutions have been reduced to a mere joke and there’s a dire need of building entire state brick by brick. With corrupt practices in vogue and no accountability, there was a need of not only doing away with controversial laws but also getting socio-economic and political setup back on rails. A state that never bothered to decentralise powers has today Panchayats, local bodies and Municipal Corporations in place, though without complete extension of 73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution of India. But a beginning has been made and there is a visible way ahead.
The institutions in J&K State stand spoilt to the core. It was so grim that cadre posts were held by non-cadre officials just because they were able to manage it to the extent that at times 10th graders or mere engineers appointed though backdoors remained HoDs or are still functioning as Managing Directors of different departments. These posts otherwise were held by officers of the rank of Indian Administrative Services (IAS). Not to talk of 35A, Article 370 or delimitation but several other small yet important changes are needed in the state to streamline its functioning that has gone haywire.
It was only recently that J&K Bank after declaring the results of preliminary examination for Probationary Officer (PO) faced protests for setting cut-off merit district wise and at a relatively higher 63 in the winter capital. It took no time to go in for a damage control exercise and out of the blue switched to a uniform cut-off of 40 across the state in relaxation of policy. This is how institutions in J&K State function at the whims and wills of individuals or a select few. Now that a process of setting things right is being rolled out, everyone irrespective of region must support it.
Similarly delimitation of constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir are required to be redrawn for betterment of people who go unrepresented because of constituencies spread on vast plains or hilly areas. One MLA elected from such irregularly carved out constituencies cannot do justice with electorate be it in Valley, Ladakh or Jammu. Going by the track record of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) it’s is established that the Union Government is functioning without any prejudice and a false propaganda launched against it also stands exposed with noted journalist Shekhar Gupta admitting that many of his fellow colleagues had deliberately chosen to shut eyes on developments.
The slew of social and financial reforms in India has made a new beginning with farmers and wards of martyrs getting top priority in NDA-II. Enhancement in PMs Scholarship Scheme, minimum fixed pension for small farmers and traders besides vaccination programme for dairy animals are first three decisions that have silenced opposition which was trying to exploit this section of society. The Government plans to plant 125 crore trees along national highways in next few years besides connecting all four religious places (Char Dham) with wider and better roads to facilitate pilgrims. The reintroduction of Triple Talaq Bill in Parliament is another promise that is going to be fulfilled in larger interest of Muslim women.
In the just concluded general polls it was established that attempts to divide nation on religion, region, caste or creed stands demolished. There are parties in Jammu and Kashmir who chose to boycott local body polls and are now dying to contest assembly elections. After having marred the political career of thousands of workers parties like National Conference sent three MPs to Parliament and is now contemplating to send MLAs to state assembly with the support of those whom they didn’t allow to contest ULB polls. This is not done! This is where NDA-II is bound to intervene and make J&K State come at par with rest of the states in the nation.
Fuming about such changes rather reversals is uncalled for. Like past NDA-II is continuing with its people friendly policies without any prejudice. First few decisions taken by Union Government stand dedicated to those who protect India or are growing food for India. Enhanced scholarships for wards of police personnel martyred in terror or Maoist attacks and pension for small traders and marginalised farmers is in line with Prime Minister’s vision for India’s safety, security and the well-being of those who protect the nation. This has nothing to do with delimitation and move is well begun and half done!
NC which questioned what has BJP done must know that it was during NDA-I that each and every house got electricity, poor got their homes, gas cylinders reached most deserving, rich contributed by giving away subsidies and infrastructure development besides defense got strengthened. They must also know that NDA-II took off on a positive note well within 24 hours of its taking over reins of the nation. Majority of programme launched by NDA-I led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi stand completed which is the main reason people trusted BJP and voted it back to power.
Unlike past promises were not made to hang in balance, most of the infrastructural projects like statue of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel was completed in record time making it world’s tallest structure named Statue of Unity. Likewise, houses for all is in its advance stage and all villages stand provided with electricity thereby beginning a new era of development. The NDA led by Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 with a promise to change the polity in India and that is pretty visible now.
Those who question what BJP or NDA did during past must know that programmes like Swachh Bharat Mission, Make in India, FDI, Startup India, Mudra Yojna, Jan Dhan Yojana, Ujjwal Yojna, affordable healthcare, expansion of electricity and roads and digital India are some of the flagship programmes that set basis for India’s prosperity and NDA-II’s win. Mann Ki Baat that connected Prime Minister with common public and was taken lightly by the opposition or mocked at didn’t go out of fashion and made India understand how the nation was functioning.
Swachh Bharat Mission has awakened citizens to the extent that individuals and groups besides societies have started cleaning mission to the extent that Varsova beach in Mumbai was transformed from being a trash landfill to a haven for coral life by just one man army of lawyer turned social activist Afroz Shah. Connecting the mission with Gandhi Jayanti have more meaning to it and today keeping city clean is in. ‘Open defecation free’ mission and construction of toilets in each household have completely transformed lives of millions of Indians to the extent that about 25 States have been declared ‘open defecation free’ so far.
Instead of cribbing over Article 35A, 370 or delimitation opposition must also understand how India including Jammu and Kashmir is coming back on rails. Make in India, FDI, Startup India and Mudra Yojna have all been possible because of eased norms to start businesses. When 132 million new accounts are opened and more than five crore BPL households get cooking fuel connections for a nominal amount of Rs 1,600, India definitely can be termed as transforming.
Slew of measures and schemes have been launched in the healthcare sector to provide the economically backward section of society with the benefit of modern healthcare where Rs 5-lakh medical insurance cover to 50-crore low-income citizens is provided under Aayushman Bharat what’s more is needed. Today India is building 40 km of new roads every day and United Nations declaring June 21 as International Yoga Day is also achievement and not any programme aimed at any particular section of society.
The problem with opposition is that it believes that a Government elected with majority will fall under its own weight even if nothing wrong is being done by it. It also believes that reformative measures will be dubbed as anti-community or against any region but awakened electorate which has already rejected such theories are prepared to receive changes in a big way. Till accountability and transparency is being maintained and ‘India before self’ mission is on the roll, NDA-II is going nowhere. The sooner it is understood the better it is.