J&K has shown faith in democracy: PM

J&K has shown faith in democracy: PM

Congratulating the people of Jammu and Kashmir for voting in large numbers during the first phase of Assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that ballots had prevailed over bullets in the state.

Addressing a BJP rally in the Udhampur district of Jammu, on a day when a deadly encounter between militants and security forces took place in the Arnia sector of the International Border (IB) in R S Pura, Modi said: “The people of Jammu and Kashmir have shown their faith in democracy. Terrorists have been using guns and bullets to kill people, but the power of democracy was still alive in Jammu and Kashmir.”

While addressing an estimated 60,000 people as part of his electioneering for the second phase of Assembly elections on December 2, the prime minister said, “For the first time, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have strengthened themselves and voted, giving their reply to the bullets of those who were suppressing the power of ballots.”

“The people of Jammu and Kashmir have also sent a message to the world about how deep-rooted the democracy is in them. They have made democracy victorious in Jammu Kashmir. For this, the people of India are grateful to them,” he added.

A record 71.28 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the first phase of Assembly elections in the state on November 25, despite boycott calls from separatists and militants.

Seeking a clear mandate for the BJP for the state’s overall development, Modi accused the ruling National Conference, Congress and the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party of indulging in corruption and looting the state besides “emotionally blackmailing” people.

“Development has been stuck at the same place here for the last 30 years. Corruption, looting and emotional blackmailing has become a habit for politicians here," he alleged.

“Funds released by government of India for the people of the state have gone to the bank accounts of these politicians. The money sent by Delhi government has been pocketed by few families in the state. Had it been directly deposited in the individual bank accounts of the people here, they would have been the richest people in the country.”

The prime minister said the people involved in the plunder of funds must be punished. “What has happened in 30 years in the state, if I do not do it in five years, you can hold me accountable and even question me,” he said and urged the people to end dynastic rule in the state, terming it a ‘disease for the society.’

Stating that Jammu and Kashmir was close to his heart, he said: “There have been a dozen prime ministers in India but none has had the opportunity to visit Jammu and Kashmir as much as I had. I spent Diwali with the flood-affected people here. My decision was not for politics, nor was it for seeking votes.” He also promised that he would visit the state in December. The prime minister, however, didn’t mention anything about the controversial Article 370 in his speech.

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