J&K’s development Modi govt’s top priority

Home minister Amit Shah asserted in the Lok Sabha on Saturday that the Narendra Modi government has done more for Jammu and Kashmir since Article 370 was scrapped in August 2019 than those who ruled it for generations, as he reeled out statistics to assert that its development has been the government’s top priority.

Replying to a discussion on the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, he also slammed some opposition members for their claim that the proposed law negates the hopes of the region getting back its erstwhile statehood. This legislation has nothing to do with statehood, and Jammu and Kashmir will be accorded the status at an appropriate time, Shah said.

He said the region’s Union Territory status is temporary and then took a swipe at the Congress and other parties -- which had backed Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir -- saying this was a temporary provision but they continued with it for over 70 years before the Modi government annulled it in August 2019.

Jammu and Kashmir has been a top priority for the current government since it took power in 2014, he said.

Decentralisation and devolution of power have taken place in the union territory following the revocation of Article 370, Shah said, noting that panchayat elections saw over 51 per cent voting. Panchayats have been given administrative and financial powers for local development, something they lacked earlier, he added.

Now people chosen by the masses will rule Jammu and Kashmir, not those born to “kings and queens”, he said, attacking dynastic parties in the region.

Even our rivals could not allege any wrongdoing in these polls which were conducted fairly and peacefully, he said.

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