Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday told the Lok Sabha that the Narendra Modi government would ensure free and fair elections in Jammu & Kashmir as soon as the Election Commission announces the poll schedule for the state.
Shah piloted the J&K reservation (amendment) Bill and a resolution to extend central rule by six months in the state, both of which the Lok Sabha passed by a voice vote. In his maiden speech in the Lok Sabha, Shah said, “Article 370 of the Constitution is not permanent.” Article 370 provides for special status to J&K, and one of BJP’s core agenda is to repeal it.
He said the common Kashmiris have benefited from the Modi government’s welfare schemes, while those who espouse the “anti-India” cause are scared. “The people of Kashmir are our people. This government wants to embrace them as our people,” the Home Minister said.
To opposition members’ criticism that Modi government’s policy towards the state has led to sharp increase in the deaths of security personnel, Shah said the government was very much in “control” of the situation in the state. “But you (the Opposition) will not like it because now the power is slipping out of the hands of three families and going to the people,” Shah said. He said the Modi government would show “large heartedness” to allocate funds to the state as it has “suffered” a lot.
The Home Minister said the Modi government was committed to preserving “Kashmiriyat” and detailed the funds spent in the state, particularly on security infrastructure.
Congress members objected to Shah resorting to delving into history to blame first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and subsequent Congress governments at the Centre for much that currently ails Jammu and Kashmir. Later, Congress MP Manish Tewari said Shah did not respond to concerns the opposition raised and “twisted” history.