CREATING a faint hope of the Assembly elections being held in Jammu and Kashmir in the near future, the union home minister said in an interview on Monday that it was for the election commission to take a call on it. He said that the process of preparation of voters’ list was nearing completion in the Union Territory. As for the reinstatement of statehood, the home minister said it will be discussed after elections. Also on Monday, the Supreme Court rejected a plea challenging the government’s decision to form a delimitation commission in the UT which has apparently brought us a step closer to holding of elections. . .
But there is still doubt whether the exercise will be held at all. If elections are really to be held by around the middle of the year, by now the schedule should have been announced. As things stand, several political parties are reaching out to people, but they aren’t campaigning, still uncertain about the elections.
The UT is now far more peaceful than it was before 2019, another condition for elections The home minister also highlighted this fact in his interview saying there has been a decrease in terrorism-related incidents in the UT following the revocation of Article 370, and that development efforts in the region are contributing to the improving situation. He pointed to the figures on the evolving situation and which do vindicate the government.
A recent MHA review highlighted the progress made in J&K over the last year on economic and security fronts. The union territory, the report said, witnessed “a 54 percent reduction in terrorist incidents, a 22 percent drop in recruitment of militants and 84 percent decline in the deaths of security forces.” In real terms, the militancy related violence has decreased from 417 incidents in 2018 to 229 in 2021 while the number of slain security personnel had reduced from 91 in 2018 to 42 in 2021.
On the development front, the report says that the BJP government at the centre has brought an investment of Rs 56,000 crores in just three years. Under the Prime Minister’s Development Package in Jammu, the report mentions, J&K got about 63 projects in hydroelectricity at a cost of Rs 80,000 crore.
One biggest indicator of the new normalcy, as highlighted by the home minister, has been the growth of tourism, And last year is said to have broken all previous records. According to the tourist officials, the number of tourists Kashmir received this year is the highest so far, beating by far even the pre-turmoil period record. Would this normalcy lead to polls? There’s no certainty. But the coming weeks and months will make things clear on this score.
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