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IndiaBig turnout reflects govt’s successful J&K policy, next step statehood: Amit Shah

Big turnout reflects govt’s successful J&K policy, next step statehood: Amit Shah


New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said the Modi government's policy has been vindicated by the successful polling in and Kashmir, where even separatists have voted “overwhelmingly”, as he assured that the Assembly elections in the region will be held before September 30. Once the elections are over, the government will start the process of restoring statehood to the Union Territory, Shah said in an interview to PTI late Saturday.

“I have said in Parliament that we will give the statehood after the Assembly elections,” he said, adding that everything is going according to plan, such as the surveys of the Backward Classes and delimitation exercise of the Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies.

“We have completed the delimitation process as the reservation can be given only after the delimitation process is completed to know about the status of various castes (to give reservation). are also over (in Jammu and Kashmir). Next is the Assembly election which will also be held. We will complete the process before the Supreme Court deadline,” he said.

On December 11, 2023, the Supreme Court had directed the Election Commission of India to conduct elections in Jammu and Kashmir by September 30, 2024.

Commenting on the relatively high polling percentage in the Kashmir Valley in the Lok Sabha elections, Shah said he believed that there has been a big change in attitudes there. “Voting percentage has increased. Some people used to say that people of the valley do not believe in the Indian Constitution. But this election was held under the Indian Constitution because Kashmir's Constitution is no longer there. It was scrapped. Election was held under the Indian Constitution. People who sought a separate country, even they cast their votes overwhelmingly, both at the organisation level as well as individual people,” he said.

Shah said, “It was a very big victory for the democracy and a big success of the Narendra Modi government's Kashmir policy, which it has been pursuing for the last 10 years.”

The three seats in the Kashmir — Srinagar (38.49 per cent), Baramulla (59.1 per cent) and Anantnag-Rajouri (53 per cent) — have recorded the highest voter turnout “in many decades”, the Election Commission said on Saturday.

When asked why the BJP did not field any candidate in the Lok Sabha elections in the Kashmir Valley, he said the party was still working on strengthening its organisation in the Valley. “We will definitely put up our candidates in future. Our organisation is getting expanded and our organisation is under process of strengthening,” he added.

Asked about the possibility of merger of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) with Jammu and Kashmir, Shah said it is his personal belief that PoK could have been part of India in 1947-48, but it got away because of what he said was premature ceasefire by the Jawaharlal Nehru government in the first war with Pakistan over the region. “Had the ceasefire been declared four days later, PoK would have been with us,” he said, adding that the possible merger of PoK with can only be decided after lots of serious discussions. “Because this is an issue which is very important for the country,” he said. He pointed out that the merger of PoK is part of BJP's manifesto. “Besides, there was a Parliamentary resolution on it … unanimous resolution. The Congress party may not realise that they have also voted for it,” he said.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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