Ready to hold J-K polls with Lok Sabha elections: Government
Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said the Centre has no problem if the elections are held in Jammu and Kashmir along with national polls or even earlier.
“We are ready to provide complete support…,” he told Rajya Sabha, which approved the imposition of President’s Rule in the state following the dissolution of the state assembly in November. Polls have to be held in the state within six months of dissolution.
Rajya Sabha earlier approved the imposition of the President’s Rule amid a war of words between the government and the Opposition, which blamed each other of the escalation in violence in the state. Singh, who moved a motion with respect to the imposition of the president’s rule, told the House the Centre’s offer for dialogue with separatists got no response. “We are always ready for a dialogue.” He said that during the governor’s rule that preceded that of the president’s, financial powers of the Panchayats were increased. “We have strengthened democracy at the grass-roots...”
Earlier, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad accused the Centre of using the governor’s office to bring new laws and changing rules in Jammu and Kashmir. “Ideally, since there is not an elected government in the state, laws and rules should not have been changed,’’ Azad said. “After four and half years, the economy of Kashmir has collapsed. Handicraft and tourism sectors are at its lowest. Unemployment in Kashmir is at its peak, and people are completely alienated,” he said.
Azad said when the Congress left office in 2014, there was peace and stability. “Violence and militancy had disappeared, tourism and industry were flourishing.” He cited rising levels of violence and added doctors and PhD students were taking to militancy. “Something is seriously wrong with the functioning of the government”
Finance minister Arun Jaitley blamed the Congress it for “much of the current ills” in the state. “The weak democratic institutions in Jammu and Kashmir were a product of policies followed by the Congress since the 1950s.” Jaitley said the Opposition “should look at the future of Jammu and Kashmir.” He said the Opposition had derided the post-poll tie-up between Bharatiya Janata Party and People’s Democratic Party to form the Mehooba Mufti-led coalition government, which fell in June. He added the same government paved way for Panchayat polls.
Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien took a dig at the government. “Parliamentary history is being created,” he said. “The defence minister [Nirmala Sitharaman] is sitting down in one House, while the finance minister [Jaitley ] speaks on defence. The home minister [Singh] is sitting down in this House, while the finance minister speaks on Home Affairs. There is a message. Some churning is taking place.”