Under the current rule, Jammu and Kashmir saw a lot of positive changes such as block-level elections being held for the first time, the Centre told regional parties at their meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, sources informed CNN-News18.
According to the sources, here is what the Centre said:
• After the meeting, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the Centre was committed to ensure all round development of J&K. “The future of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed and the delimitation exercise and peaceful elections are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in parliament," he said on Twitter.
We are committed to ensure all round development of J&K.The future of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed and the delimitation exercise and peaceful elections are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in parliament.
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) June 24, 2021
Our priority is to strengthen grassroots democracy in J&K. Delimitation has to happen at a quick pace so that polls can happen and J&K gets an elected Government that gives strength to J&K’s development trajectory. pic.twitter.com/AEyVGQ1NGy— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 24, 2021
• PM Modi said holding assembly elections as successfully as the DDC elections were conducted was a priority. It was discussed in the meeting that elections could happen soon after delimitation, the sources said, adding that most participants were willing towards the idea.
• The Centre said that block-level elections were held for the first time in J&K’s history, and that a new level of grassroots democracy through district development councils was created.
• It said that the DDC elections turn-out was 51% higher than panchayats and Lok Sabha polls, and that out of the 4,483 sarpanches in duty, 3,650 are elected. Furthering its point over strengthening grassroots work in the region, the Centre said that over Rs 3,000 crore-worth financial powers was handed over to panchayats.
• The Centre told the parties that youngsters wanted employment. It asked them to focus on the initiatives of Skill India.
• It said that the vaccination drive had been conducted very smoothly in J&K.
• The Centre’s focus has been on how smoothly democracy can be restored, it said at the meeting, adding that it was also concentrating on development in the valley.
• Meanwhile, former J&K deputy CM Nirmal Singh said that on the issue of article 370, the PM said the parties should work within the constitutional framework.
• Singh said that the PM assured a committee to secure the release of political prisoners, when the issue was raised by the Gupkar Alliance parties. Union Home Minister Amit shah presented data on the issue in the meeting, and said only a dozen prisoners were still in custody.
• President of the Apni Party, Atlaf Bukhari, said the PM had condemned the statement - ‘you took Section 370 from us, we will take your daughters from you’ - made by certain leaders, at the meeting.