Local political parties not making efforts to bring normalcy in J&K: Ashish Sood


The mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir are not putting any efforts to bring normalcy in the state for their vote bank politics, says BJP co-incharge for Jammu and Kashmir Ashish Sood.

In an exclusive interview to IANS, Sood questions political parties of Kashmir that whether bringing normalcy is the sole responsibility of the Government of India and New Delhi?

Excerpts of the interview.

Q: What are the changes Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed in the last two years after abrogation of Article 370?

A: Whole lifestyle of the state has been changed. Biggest change which came in the state is development work. People spread misconception that Prime Minister Narendra Modi removed Article 370 to make ‘Hindus’ happy or BJP did it to fulfill its political agenda. It’s true it is our agenda that ‘Ek desh me do vidhan and do nishan nahi chalenge’.

But abrogation of Article 370 is all about development politics of Narendra Modi and it should not be seen as Hindu or BJP ‘ka fayda’ (as benefits for Hindu’s or BJP’s). It should be seen as part of the development agenda of Prime Minister Modi, 74th constitutional amendments have been implemented in the state. Due to implementation of 74 constitutional amendments, now Panch, Sarpanch and DDC are elected in the state.

First work is that the democracy set up has been strengthened. Secondly, money is available for development to elected representatives and they are using judicially for the development with full accountability. With accountability, transparency and all the anti corruption laws are applicable in the state. Second People are empowered through democratic institutions to spend money judicially for development with responsibility.

Third, 192 laws like Right to Education, Senior Citizens Protection Act 2001 are now applicable in the state. Why were people of Jammu and Kashmir deprived of these laws?

People understand that the government provides all round development of the union territory. And interestingly, all the mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir have started talking of development.

Our development agenda without any discrimination will expose the Congress, National conference and PDP. Earlier, in a year a panchayat used to get two and half houses but now every year 100 hundreds of houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna are being built in every panchayat. Now people believe that they will get the house and these works of the Modi government will expose the other political parties in Jammu and Kashmir.

Q: Mainstream parties say that the Modi government taking credits of development works started during the previous government at the Centre and state?

A: For the last 70 years, Kashmir received lots of funds for development due to its special status. But there was a huge mismatch between funds received and work done. Over 2,400 km of roads were built across the state, tap water is provided under Jal Jeevan Mission. It is true and used to happen that some work of the previous government is inaugurated by the next government, but in Modi government work is started and completed by us.

During the ongoing Covid pandemic, five bedded dedicated Covid care facilities have been created at 4,500 panchayats with one oxygen bed. Jammu and Kashmir shows despite less budgetary provision, it is doing immensely great works than the other states in the last two years.

Several schemes announced by the previous government in 2006, and 2013-14 have not moved on ground. They are forced to talk about development and it happened only after abrogation of Article 370 they started talking about the development.

Q: What is BJP’s stand on others’ demand of restoration of statehood before election in J&K?

A: The Centre has already said that democratic process will be restored. Delimitation process has already started and all the political parties of the state must participate in the delimitation process. The Central government has started the process and asked everyone to participate in the process, let see what will come out of all these democratic exercises. One cannot run away from his responsibilities by not participating in these processes. Government invited them for talks and briefed about the centre’s commitment to Jammu and Kashmir.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had already said that statehood will be restored once the situation is normal. It is also the responsibility of the political parties to put joint efforts to bring normalcy.

They never spoke against insurgency or condemned the attacks on BJP workers. Neither Congress nor National Conference or PDP condemned attacks on BJP workers or spoke against militants and insurgency for the sake of their vote bank politics.

Mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir are not putting efforts to bring normalcy in the state. Bringing normalcy is the sole responsibility of the Government of India and New Delhi.

Q: What do mean by that, the mainstream parties of Jammu and Kashmir not doing anything to bring normalcy in the state.

A: Mehbooba Mufti says talks should be held with Pakistan. You tell me whether Pakistan is a stakeholder? Is it an effort to bring normalcy? Making your vote bank happy by working with separatists is not an effort to bring normalcy. Mehbooba Mufti should answer why we should talk with Pakistan?

On February 22, 1994, Parliament had passed a resolution that Pakistan occupied Jammu & Kashmir (PoJK) is an integral part of India and the area is under illegal occupation of Pakistan, why she and others did not speak about it.

Their acts and words show that they are not interested in bringing normalcy in the state.

Q: What do you state about recent attacks on the BJP workers?

A: For the second year in a row, August 5, went away uneventfully and this has made many unhappy. Mehbooba Mufti said that Kashmir is mourning and BJP is rejoicing and celebrating. They are trying to build a narrative against the Prime Minister and BJP.

After abrogation of Article 370 stone pelters are hiding and some fringe elements with the help of separatists are attacking BJP workers to show that everything is not normal in the state.

Q: Don’t you think these killings of BJP workers have an adverse impact on cadres?

A: It is true and we have to accept it. But our workers had worked hard during the peak of insurgency. Situations have changed over the period and now we are targeted to build the narrative that everything is not right and our workers understand it. Each and every worker of BJP will continue to work for the development of Jammu and Kashmir and ready to sacrifice his or her life for the country.

(Shashi Bhushan can be reached at shashi.b@ians.in)–IANS