Srinagar Dec 4: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said that elections in the union territory of J&K will be held after delimitation following which “the process of restoration of statehood will start”.
Replying to a question at the HT Leadership Summit, Shah said, “First delimitation will take place and then elections will be held after which the process of statehood restoration will start in accordance with the act of the Parliament”.
Over the demand by some J&K politicians to restore J&K’s statehood before holding elections, the Home Minister said, “They know the order of things (to be followed), but they want to create a political dispute by demanding the opposite”.
Regarding Centre’s abrogation of Article 370, which gave a special status to the erstwhile J&K state, and its subsequent bifurcation into union territories of J&K and Ladakh, Shah said, “The way development is taking place, law and order has been set up and tourists are thronging the valley is unprecedented”.
“Ministers are being rung up by people for accommodation saying there’s no space (at hotels). Kashmir figures 1-5 in terms of execution of welfare schemes whereas it used to figure in 30s earlier. This shows a lot of things have happened in a relatively shorter period of time. I have recently been there and have felt the change from ground zero. I think people of Kashmir are welcoming the change, ” Shah said.
“I appeal to all parties to participate in the democratic process”.
As for the Centre’s curfew and communication blackout in Kashmir after Article 370 abrogation on August 5, 2019, Shah said, “The argument has been used against Modiji and me that we imposed curfew and blocked internet. I recently asked youth of valley during a video conference as to who would have been killed had we lifted the curfew. They said ‘we would’ve been killed”.