The Bold Voice of J&K

Kashmir turnout befitting reply to those who ask what has changed: Dr Jitendra

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STATE TIMES NEWS

NEW DELHI: The turnout in voting to Lok Sabha elections in the Kashmir Valley is a befitting reply to parties who ask what has changed after the abrogation of Article 370 and the forthcoming state assembly elections will see Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) make every effort to form a government with a BJP chief minister at the helm, Minister of state PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) Dr Jitendra Singh has said.
In an interview for the next issue of weekly “Open”, a part of which was digitally published on Sunday, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the free and vigorous public participation and campaigning by political parties is the real celebration of democracy in letter and spirit.
“This was unimaginable a few years ago. This is the answer to those who ask what has changed. In the past campaigning was limited and sometimes voting barely crossed 10%, raising a question on the quality of the mandate,” he said.
Asked if BJP’s bid to form a government in J&K could mean the state might get a Hindu chief minister, Singh said, “I can’t say that, but I think we can say we can have a BJP chief minister. It could be a Hindu, Muslim or a Sikh but we will have a BJP chief minister if our party forms the government. It will be more appropriate to say “BJP chief minister” as BJP does not believe in the politics of caste, creed or religion. It would not be fair to say “Hindu CM,” I would refrain from using that description. A BJP chief minister can be from any region.” The BJP, which had worked on “Mission 44” in the 2014 state elections, will aim for 50-plus seats in an assembly of 107 directly elected members.
An MP from the Udhampur constituency, Singh holds independent charge of the departments of science and technology and is MoS for DoPT (department of personnel and training), atomic energy and space, portfolios that are under the PMO. A qualified medical professional, Singh is a diabetologist and has won the Udhampur seat in 2014 and 2019 and is eying a hattrick of wins.
Asked if BJP’s bid to form a government in J&K could mean the state might get a Hindu chief minister, Singh said, “I can’t say that, but I think we can say we can have a BJP chief minister. It could be a Hindu, Muslim or a Sikh but we will have a BJP chief minister if our party forms the government. It will be more appropriate to say “BJP chief minister” as BJP does not believe in the politics of caste, creed or religion. It would not be fair to say “Hindu CM,” I would refrain from using that description. A BJP chief minister can be from any region.” The BJP, which had worked on “Mission 44” in the 2014 state elections, will aim for 50-plus seats in an assembly of 107 directly elected members.
The minister said the current situation in J&K was the result of determined efforts of the central government to crack down on Pakistan-supported terrorism and a major achievement on part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The action against terrorism was accompanied by deterrent action such as making habitual stone pelters ineligible for government jobs. This was done in a very sincere and determined manner. In the past, Kashmir-centric had their interests and could not act decisively against these elements. Often their own cadre was involved,” he said.
Responding to reports that BJP is supporting “proxy” candidates in the Valley instead of fielding its own nominees, Singh said this was not a correct view. “This is a strategic decision not to field candidates in the Valley, it is related to national priorities and concerns. When we support a certain party, it is not fair to describe them as proxies. We have a larger umbrella of the NDA,” he said.
The minister said the removal of Article 370 was not a concern for common citizens in Kashmir even though PDP and NC are raising the matter. “These parties, which are the advocates of Article 370, were the biggest abusers of the provision which they used to perpetuate their hold on power, generation after generation,” he said. The divide between Jammu and Kashmir regions, he said, was the result of the vote bank politics of these parties. “Their vote bank politics saw these parties discriminate against Jammu. They saw political dividends in doing this,” he said.
Dr Jitendra said, all projects and resources are now being equally distributed, and gave the example of Jammu and Kashmir having an AIIMS each. “The so-called special status created mental barriers and these were removed by the abrogation of Article 370. A feeling of belonging has increased,” he said.

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