Modi promises early elections, restoration of statehood to J&K , turns a new leaf in history

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | April 12, 2024 IST

Modi promises early elections, restoration of statehood to J&K , turns a new leaf in  history

Arun Joshi

For the first time since abrogation of Article 370  and bifurcation of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories  in  August 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday declared that  statehood will be restored to the UT of J&K, and slo Assembly elections would be held  as early as possible.

The announcement has become historic  as it was made at an election rally in Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir , it has ended all the uncertainties that had come to dog  since the past five years . J&K had been pleading for the Assembly polls  and restoration of statehood since the day Article 370 was abrogated on August 5, 2019 . His announcement has given  a new and profound meaning  to the Supreme Court’s verdict  of December 11, 2023  , directing the Election Commission of India  to hold the Assembly polls in J&K by  September 30, 2024.

Modi  told audience of thousands at “Modi Ground” in Udhampur , which also is the headquarters of Northern Command , the troops of which oversee the borders from Jammu region to Kashmir Valley, and Ladakh , that “ Assembly elections will held soon in Jammu and Kashmir, you will get a chance to elect your  MLAs, ministers , who would work as  per your wishes , and also J&K’s statehood would be restored.” The  Prime Minister’s word has given it a  sense of finality , as everything else since  August 2019 was considered  temporary .

This announcement has touched the hearts of the people of  Jammu and Kashmir , who were in a state of dismay as they were not getting their elected representatives . Jammu and Kashmir has been under  the Central rule since June 2018 when the BJP withdrew its support from the PDP-led government and made the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to resign. The assembly was placed  under suspended animation  before it was dissolved on November 21, 2018. Thereafter, despite Lok Sabha polls were held in April-May  2019, Assembly elections were kept on hold . And with the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 and division of the state into two union territories of Ladakh, and J&K, the chances of polls  became remote .

There was a fear that the holding of Assembly elections would reverse the narrative of gains of Article 370 abrogation , and put to halt the anti-terrorism operations  which had gained momentum and brought  tremendous improvement in the situation , not only on the ground but also  veered he mindset toward development and quest of future in peace and prosperity.

Now  when Prime Minister has  made this big  announcement, he has shown big confidence in the situation and changed psyche of the population  of the territory. This confidence  is a demonstration of the triumph of the  Modi government over terrorism, and forces of terrorism and also  making J&K people partners  in the vibrant democracy of the country.  He has vindicated the merit in abolishing Article 370 to the nation  yet again  and to the international community.

Politically , he has also vindicated the point of the political parties,  particularly Jammu Kashmir Apni Party  and its leader Altaf Bukhari . The  Apni Party was founded on March 8, 2020 , barely  nine months after the August 5 decisions , to seek restoration of statehood  to J&K. Its leader Altaf Bukhari had met PM and Home Minister Amit Shah on several occasions during which he aired this demand. His thesis was followed by other parties, National Conference and PDP, after they sensed that their issue of the restoration of Article 370 to the constitution of India, did not find reconciliation with the nation’s mood. The Supreme Court verdict had sealed the issue once and for all. The apex court had held removal of Article 370 as valid and constitutional. While his promise of elections and statehood have validated Apni Party, it has taken wind out of sails of other regional parties that had sought to make  Assembly polls and restoration of statehood  as election issue during the ongoing Lok Sabha polls .

These announcements have overshadowed the rhetoric on other campaign issues , especially fro Jammu and Kashmir, which is left with no other issues vis-à-vis BJP government at the Centre.

Arun Joshi is author of “Eyewitness Kashmir; Teetering on Nuclear War and senior journalist based in Jammu and Kashmir, writes on South Asian affairs)

Disclaimer: This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com

    Tags
  • Election 2024
  • General Elections 2024

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