The Bold Voice of J&K

Successful J&K polls success of Modi Govt policy; next step Assembly polls, statehood: Amit Shah

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New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said that the Modi government’s Kashmir policy has been vindicated by the successful polling in Jammu and Kashmir, where even separatists have voted “overwhelmingly”, as he assured that the assembly elections in the region will be held before September 30.
Once the elections are over, the government will start the process of restoring statehood to the Union Territory, Shah said in an interview to PTI late Saturday.
“I have said in Parliament that we will give the statehood after the assembly elections,” he said, adding that everything is going according to plan, such as the surveys of the backward classes and delimitation exercise of the Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies.
“We have completed the delimitation process. Because the reservation can be given only after the delimitation process is completed. Because we have to know about the status of various castes (to give reservation). That has been done. Lok Sabha election is also over (in Jammu and Kashmir). Next is the assembly election which will also be held. We will complete the process before the Supreme Court deadline,” he said.

‘If speaking on Art 370, UCC, opposing Muslim quota is religion-based campaign, BJP will do it’

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah has slammed the INDIA bloc’s criticism of the Election Commission as a ploy to cover up for its impending loss in the Lok Sabha polls, asserting that the BJP will score a bigger win in opposition-ruled states due to a “positive mandate” for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In an interview with PTI, Shah claimed that his party has not resorted to any religion-based campaign but insisted that if canvassing against reservation for Muslims, and reaching out to voters on the abolition of Article 370 and implementing a Uniform Civil Code is religion-based campaign, then the BJP has done it and will continue doing so.
He dismissed the opposition’s criticism of the Election Commission for its handling of poll data and the issue of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), saying that similar protocols and practices have been followed in previous assembly polls, including Telangana, West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh where the BJP lost.
“If those elections were fair, then this election is also fair. When you see defeat, you start crying in advance and try to find excuses to go abroad. This can’t go on and on. They want to go on vacation on June 6. So, they are telling something or the other,” he said.
The Congress’s questions about the polling process is aimed at covering up Rahul Gandhi’s failure, he said.
Shah said the opposition party had not offered any such suggestion at the customary all-party meeting called by the poll watchdog before the elections. “Whenever the opposition loses an election, they raise some questions. There is zero possibility of rigging in EVMs and they want an election which can be rigged.”
With six phases of the seven-phase Lok Sabha polls over, the BJP’s key strategist said the party’s assertion that its alliance will cross the 400-seat mark when the poll results are out on June 4 is not merely a poll slogan but a well thought-out goal.
He said, “We will surely cross 400 seats. We will also form governments in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh.” Assembly polls in the three states have been held alongside the Lok Sabha elections.
“If we get 399 seats and you say we have not crossed 400, then it is your wisdom. But the ‘400 paar’ slogan is based on calculation and considered opinion,” Shah said in his characteristic combative and sure-footed manner.
Asked if the party was overly dependent on Modi and if a relatively weak opposition was benefitting from its alliance, he said it was not a negative but a positive vote which the ruling alliance is receiving.
“This is not a negative vote. Please accept one thing. This is a positive vote. We will get people’s support where (in states) we are in power. And mark my words…where we are not, we will be getting a bigger mandate. So this is a positive mandate for the work of the central government,” he said.
As Modi has brought to fruition the BJP’s core ideological plans, be it the poor’s welfare, a secure country, abrogation of Article 370, a uniform law (UCC) across the country, women’s reservation and Ram temple, his popularity naturally becomes the strength of the BJP, he added. “He is our biggest leader.”
He accused the main opposition party of misleading people on the issue of Muslim reservation, insisting that its accusation that the BJP has been telling a lie rings hollow as it has already implemented such a religious quota in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
“If they divide the truth in pieces to mislead people, then isn’t it our duty to put these pieces together and inform people,” he said, defending Modi’s intense attack on the Congress over the religious quota and the issue of redistribution of wealth.
“You might have heard and understood Rahul Gandhi’s X-ray speech. So you want X-ray of what? And if you want to distribute it equally, then who will you distribute to? Manmohan Singh Ji said minorities are their priority. What do you make of this,” he asked when questioned about the Congress’s allegations against Modi.
To a question about the Congress’s promise of giving Rs 1 lakh to women in poor households, he said the party has a history of making populist assurances to come to power but never fulfilling them.
Shah said, “They are in power in two-three states. They should at least fulfil this promise there. At least start giving Rs 1,500 which you promised (in Himachal Pradesh). You are talking about Rs 1 lakh, at least start giving Rs 1,500. Who will trust them.”
Making his projection for the BJP in the states where the ruling party is eying major gains, he said it will anywhere between 24 to 30 seats in West Bengal and 16-17 in Odisha. Its alliance will bag nearly 17 seats in Andhra Pradesh. The three states have 42, 21 and 25 Lok Sabha seats, respectively.
Shah claimed that the BJP is set for a maiden majority in the Odisha assembly and expects to win 75 seats in the 147-member House. Its alliance will storm to power in Andhra too, he said.
People are angry with the Mamata Banerjee-led government over issues of corruption, cow and coal smuggling and infiltration, and the Sandeshkhali issue has exposed as to what extent she can stoop in her appeasement politics, he said.
With Modi spearheading the BJP’s push in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, two states where the party has been so far unable to make much headway, in these polls, Shah said the party will certainly increase its vote share in the Dravidian state.
He said, “It is a very tight contest. We have a new team. I will not make an estimate with figures. But our seats and vote share will increase and we will certainly lay a strong foundation in Tamil Nadu. We can open our account in Kerala. We are in a good position in three seats.”

On December 11, 2023, the Supreme Court had directed the Election Commission of India to conduct elections in Jammu and Kashmir by September 30, 2024.
Commenting on the relatively high polling percentage in the Kashmir valley in the Lok Sabha elections, Shah said he believed that there has been a big change in attitudes there.
“Voting percentage has increased. Some people used to say that people of the valley do not believe in the Indian Constitution. But this election was held under the Indian Constitution because Kashmir’s Constitution is no longer there. It was scrapped. Election was held under Indian Constitution. People who sought a separate country, those who want to go with Pakistan — even they cast their votes overwhelmingly, both at the organisation level as well as individual people,” he said.
Shah said “it was a very big victory for the democracy and a big success of the Narendra Modi government’s Kashmir policy, which it has been pursuing for the last 10 years.”
The three seats in the Kashmir valley — Srinagar (38.49 per cent), Baramulla (59.1 per cent) and Anantnag-Rajouri (53 per cent) — have recorded the highest voter turnout “in many decades”, the Election Commission said on Saturday
When asked why the BJP did not field any candidate in the Lok Sabha elections in the Kashmir valley, he said the party was still working on strengthening its organisation in the valley.
“We will definitely put up our candidates in future. Our organisation is getting expanded and our organisation is under process of strengthening,” he added.
Asked about the possibility of merger of Pakistan-occuped Kashmir(PoK) with Jammu and Kashmir, Shah said it is his personal belief that PoK could have been part of India in 1947-48, but it got away because of what he said was premature ceasefire by the Jawaharlal Nehru government in the first war with Pakistan over the region.
“Had the ceasefire been declared four days later, PoK would have been with us,” he said, adding that the possible merger of PoK with Jammu Kashmir can only be decided after lots of serious discussions.
“Because this is an issue which is very important for the country,” he said.
He pointed out that the merger of PoK is part of BJP’s manifesto.
“Besides, there was a Parliamentary resolution on it … unanimous resolution. The Congress party may not realise that they have also voted for it,” he said.

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