Blaming the National Conference (NC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the low number of nominations filed for the upcoming municipal elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Minister of State (Home) Hansraj G Ahir said Wednesday, “By not participating in the local elections, PDP and NC have encouraged militants.”
He further said, “Both NC and PDP ruled Jammu and Kashmir for so many years but when the Centre is allocating over Rs 4,000 crore to the state, the two parties have shown that they are against development.”
Ahir, incharge of the J&K affairs at the Home Ministry, also acknowledged that due to fear from militants, the number of nominations filed in the Valley are low, but said the Centre will provide security to all candidates. “The fight in Kashmir is from bullet to ballot. The reasons for low number of nominations include terrorist threat and the move by main political parties (NC/PDP) to boycott the polls. We will provide security to all the candidates. A review has been conducted by the security agencies and we will not leave any candidate without security, if required,” Ahir said.
In the absence of elected municipalities and panchayats, J&K could not get Rs 4,161 crore allocated to urban and rural local bodies by the 14th Finance Commission for the 2015-20 period, according to the Home Ministry. Issues taken up by local bodies, principally sanitation and solid waste management, have suffered.
Citing the example of insurgency in the Northeast, Ahir said, “People of Northeast shunned violence and participated in the democratic process and the situation has improved. Similarly, Jammu and Kashmir will also see improvement in basic amenities once these polls are conducted. We have made necessary changes in the administration and polls will be held as per schedule,” Ahir said. On being asked about maintaining secrecy on the names of candidates, Ahir said this has been done for security reasons. “We will utilise every resource available to ensure that people participate in this democratic process.”