The Union Government and mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir are on the same page to strengthen the democratic process in the Union Territory (UT). In today’s much-publicized all-party meeting, there is unanimity among all participants that democratic institutions should be strengthened to take democracy to grassroots in J&K.
“Our democracy’s biggest strength is the ability to sit across a table and exchange views. I told the leaders of J&K that it is the people, especially the youth who have to provide political leadership to J&K, and ensure their aspirations are duly fulfilled”, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi tweeted after the meeting.
“Our priority is to strengthen grassroots democracy in J&K. Delimitation has to happen at a quick pace so that polls can happen and J&K gets an elected Government that gives strength to J&K’s development trajectory”, the Prime Minister said in another tweet.
Assembly elections after completion of delimitation exercise
As all participants of today’s meeting were in favor of early assembly elections, the Union Government assured that the polls will be held after the delimitation panel completes its ongoing exercise.
Sources said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who chaired the three-hour-long marathon meeting, said that the government was fully committed to strengthening the democratic process in J&K. He stressed that holding assembly elections just like the successful conduct of DDC elections is a priority of the government. It was discussed that the elections can happen soon after delimitation and by and large most participants expressed willingness for it.
“All participants in the meeting were agreed that assembly elections will be held after completion of the ongoing exercise to redraw Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies”, one of the participants of today’s meeting told International Business Times. He said that Prime Minster sought suggestions from the political parties of J&K regarding strengthening the democratic process.
Union Home Minister hails efforts of J&K administration
After the meeting, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said “Today’s meeting on Jammu and Kashmir was conducted in a very cordial environment. Everyone expressed their commitment to democracy and the constitution. It was stressed to strengthen the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that Jammu & Kashmir has come a long way with a major boost to development along with transparency. Around 90% saturation has been achieved in individual beneficiary Central Government schemes in J&K. Several major road projects, two new AIIMS, 7 new Medical Colleges are being set up. New industrial policy has been notified with a Rs 28,400 crore package to accelerate industrial growth in J&K with the creation of 4.5 lakh jobs.
Amit Shah emphasized that the delimitation exercise and peaceful elections are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in parliament.
J&K administration takes people-friendly initiatives
J&K administration has taken many people-friendly initiatives in terms of the development of the UT and worked towards the welfare of the people in the Valley. To accelerate developmental activities in the UT, the J&K administration has approved Rs 12,600 crore District Capex Budget.
In a historic decision last week Rs 12,600.58 crore District Capex Budget for 2021-22 was approved for the equitable development of Jammu and Kashmir with the active involvement of panchayats, block development councils (BDCs), and district development councils (DDCs). The latest budget is more than double of previous year’s budget of Rs 5,134.40 crore. From a robust vaccination drive to inoculate the masses, to providing timely relief packages to support the people hit by the pandemic, J&K LG has taken many pro-people initiatives.
Fourteen leaders attend all-party meeting
Fourteen leaders of the eight mainstream parties from Jammu and Kashmir including four Chief Ministers and three Deputy Chief Minister attended the meeting aimed at setting on course of the political process in the region. This was the first meeting after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 and the bifurcation of J&K into two Union Territories (UTs) – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Lieutenant Governor of J&K, Manoj Sinha also attended today’s crucial meeting.
PM assures restoration of statehood
A BJP leader, who attended today’s meeting, said that demand for restoring statehood was raised in the meeting and the Prime Minister assured that statehood would be restored at an appropriate time. He asked political parties to support the government’s initiative to strengthen democratic institutions in J&K.
Congress stalwart and former leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad said that Prime Minister has assured to restore statehood to J&K.
“Three representatives from Congress party attended today’s meeting to put our views before the Prime Minister. We made five important demands in front of the Prime Minister. We demanded the restoration of statehood, holding of Assembly elections as early as possible, the guarantee of job and land rights to the people of J&K, bring back Kashmiri Pandits and release of political prisoners”, Azad said. Azad reminded the Union Home Minister about his commitment to restoring statehood to J&K.