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DDC polls will empower grassroots leaders to take own decisions: Jitendra Singh

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Srinagar: Union minister Jitendra Singh on Monday said the ongoing District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir would provide “self-rule and autonomy, and would empower leaders from the grassroots to take their own decisions”.

He said the Modi-led government was committed to empower the people at the grassroots.

“The DDC polls are being held for the first time. These elections are the real self-rule and autonomy for the people of Jammu and Kashmir as they will empower the leaders from the grassroots,” Singh told reporters here.

He said a relatively high voter turnout in the Valley was a reflection of the aspirations of the people.

“One has to reflect on why there was low participation in Lok Sabha elections in 2019 and now people are coming out to vote. May be they have realised that dynastic politics is over and have aspirations with these polls,” he said.

Asked if the participation of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on the polls had resulted in higher turnout, the minister in the Prime Minister’s Office said it was for the opposition to answer.

“They refused to participate in the Panchayat polls saying they will not take part in any elections till constitutional position is not reversed. Now they are taking part in the elections.  They should be honest with the people,” he said.

The National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party did not participate in the Panchayat elections 2018, demanding assurance from the Centre that the special status of Jammu and Kashmir would not be tinkered with.

The boycott by the two premiere parties of Kashmir led to BJP winning polls in many urban local bodies and Panchayats in the Valley for the first time.

The special status of the erstwhile state was repealed in August 2019.

Responding to a question, Singh said people should refrain from commenting on sub-judice matters including the challenge to the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A in the Supreme Court.

“We should not be commenting on sub-judice matters. What are the courts there for,” he said.

Several of Singh’s colleagues including Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Shahnawaz Hussain, during the election campaign, claimed that Article 370 was dead and buried, and no power in the world could restore it.

On the “Roshni scam”, Singh said everyone who has benefitted from it will have to face the consequences.

“It is not about an individual… When it comes to us, we will also face it, ” he said when asked why BJP was silent about the alleged land grab under Roshni scheme by party’s former MLA R S Pathania.

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