Srinagar, Nov 30: Senior BJP leader and Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendera Singh on Monday said that people of J&K are for the first time witnessing the grassroots democracy flourishing in the form of Panchayati Raj System and common masses are tasting the real self-rule and autonomy after a gap of 73 years.
He said that the only issue with Pakistan is the resolution that was passed in Parliament in 1994 that states that other part of Kashmir is under the illegal control of the neighbouring country and needs to be retrieved. “It was for the first time that grassroots democracy was seeing light of the day in J&K after a gap of 73 years. For the past over 50 years, regional parties have been beating the drums of autonomy and self-rule,” he said in a press conference here on Monday.
Lashing out at the local politicians, he said they wanted autonomy and self-rule for themselves by winning elections with just 10 per cent voting while the people of Kashmir feel cheated by hollow slogans. “The DDC election, the phase two of which is going to be held tomorrow, is basically a pledge of Prime Minister Narendera Modi towards people of J&K to realize the real meaning of democracy at the grassroots level. I would say that this is the beginning of a new chapter in the history of democracy in Kashmir,” he said.
Dr Singh said that the ensuing election is also a chance for the people of J&K to introspect.
He said that in the first phase of polling where over 50 per cent voting was recorded, the percentage is much higher than the previous Lok Sabha elections. “In Lok Sabha elections, people had got disillusioned and their aspirations were also disillusioned. Politicians managed to win by just 10 per cent polling and entered in Parliament,” Dr Singh said.
The senior BJP leader said if local politicians who have been beating the drums over revocation of Article 370 were so outraged, they should have simply resigned from Parliament. “Why they didn’t do it and go back to the people with the same issue. Instead, they decided to sit in the Parliament and enjoy perks,” he said.
“Three National Conference MPs and two from the PDP were present in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha when the announcement of scraping of Article 370 and 35 A was made,” he said, adding that ‘all remained silent and didn’t raise voice then’.