Cong should thank PM for removing Art 370: Dr Jitendra Singh

‘BJP brought grassroots democracy in J&K for conducting 3-tier Panchayat elections’

Srinagar, July 10: Terming Article 370 a temporary provision of the Constitution, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh Monday asked Congress to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for stripping the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of inaugurating a  five-day multimedia exhibition of the Central Bureau of Communication at S P Higher Secondary School Srinagar, he said the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawhar Lal Nehru is on record in the constituent Assembly that the Article 370 was temporary. “The Congress could not remove it. The Congress should thank the BJP for fulfilling its promise of removal of Article 370. Whether the hearing takes place or not, Article 370 was written in the Constitution and in the same Constitution, it was written that it is a temporary provision,” he replied, when asked a five-member Supreme Court bench is set to hear the batch of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 on July 11.

The bench taking up the matter comprises Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice SK Kaul, Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice BR Gavai, and Justice Surya Kant. The petitions are being listed for the first time after March 2, 2020.

Elaborating further, the Union Minister said, “When Syama Prasad Mukherjee suggested in the Constituent Assembly that there should be a rethink on Article 370, the biggest advocates of the provision including Jawahar Lal Nehru responded by saying this will erode over time. However, Congress could not erode it due to their own political interests. The BJP has done what Congress governments should have done much earlier,” he said.

When asked there is a demand from political parties for holding of assembly elections in J&K and they claim lack of democracy in the Union Territory, he replied, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi had brought grassroots democracy to Jammu and Kashmir for the first time after conducting three-tier Panchayat elections. The democratic set up is already there, panch, sarpanches are there. We have BDCs and DDCs also. This credit also goes to Modi Ji that for the first time, district councils have been set up here. There was no democracy earlier. The grassroots democracy has come due to Modi Ji.”

The Union Minister said the Prime Minister wants to take the youth of J&K along for the development of the country. “Youth of J&K are on the forefront for the development of the country. Modi Ji has emerged as the most towering leader in the world. This exhibition is about the progress made in every field and every sector,” he said.

“Chandrayaan is being launched on 14th of this month and when it will land successfully, India will become the fourth country in the world to land on the moon. The success of the effort can be gauged from the fact that other countries had started their space programmes much before India did, but the Modi government has given a new atmosphere which has boosted the morale of scientists. The way public-private partnership in the space sector has been encouraged has meant that India is able to stand shoulder to shoulder with agencies like NASA,” he said.

About the poll violence in West Bengal, Singh said that “political hypocrisy” has come to the fore.

“The unfortunate incidents in Bengal are condemnable on three counts. It exposes the political hypocrisy. Those who said democracy has been murdered in Maharashtrsa, see how they are murdering it in Bengal. Law and order and governance has failed, and unleashing of state terrorism. The government is itself involved in this bloodshed. Such a situation cannot be tolerated in a democratic country. The concerned departments and authorities will take appropriate action,” he added. He said violence or promotion of terrorism won’t be tolerated anywhere in the country.

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