KATHUA – Union minister Jitendra Singh said on Sunday that Jammu and Kashmir would get “true” self-rule and autonomy under the Modi government, and it would be quite different to the “frivolous slogans” of such demands raised by Kashmir-centric political parties.
Addressing a meeting of BJP candidates contesting the block development council (BDC) election, Singh said it is important for party workers to understand and also make others understand that this is for the first time after Independence the concept of three-tier grassroots democracy comprising Panchayats, BDCs and district councils and is being introduced in the state.
“Jammu and Kashmir will get true self rule and true autonomy under the Modi government, and that will be quite in contrast to the frivolous slogans of self-rule and autonomy raised by Kashmir-centric political parties, which have been befooling the people of the state for decades, only to perpetuate their dynasty rule generation after generation,” the BJP leader said.
Singh said the question to be asked to the “champions of so-called autonomy” is whether they have any moral authority to “fool” the people of Kashmir by making such demands after they boycotted the Panchayat and BDC elections, which he said are meant to confer autonomy to the representatives elected at the village level.
The “champions” of self-rule, he said, must reply which self-rule they are talking about when their own government “resisted” all efforts to hold panchayat elections and, when the election did happen during the governor’s rule, they boycotted it.
The minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said the response to both panchayat and BDC elections had been “enthusiastic” in Kashmir, adding that the highest number of candidates for the BDC election were not from any district in the Jammu region, but from Kupwara and Baramulla districts in the valley.
According to the minister, the central grant has started reaching directly to the local bodies for the first time, due to which many of the panchayats have already received Rs 20-30 lakh in the first phase itself, which is “more than the total amount” received by them in the last several decades.
“Will the Congress party answer why they were hesitant in introducing this provision in Jammu and Kashmir even though it was brought in by their own prime minister Rajiv Gandhi,” Singh asked. “And, whether by doing so, were they not hand in glove with the Kashmir-centric dynasties seeking to appease certain section of voters at the cost of the poor man living in rural areas?”
The BJP leader said now it is up to people to liberate their minds from Article 370, which gave special status to the state, because sometimes it still appears that “we are not able to get over the subdued psyche to which we were subjected for years together”.
“A new era of equitable growth and self-confidence has begun and it is for us to prepare ourselves to avail the best of it,” he said.
Hitting out at the Congress, National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party, which had “predicted an earthquake” if Article 370 was revoked, Singh claimed that they, too, have accepted that the people across the sections have welcomed this revocation and “that is why now they do not have the courage to utter the word Article 370”.