February 18, 2024
Opposition Urges Swift J-k Elections Amidst Debate on Local Bodies Amendment Bill
Jammu Kashmir Politics

Opposition Urges Swift J-k Elections Amidst Debate on Local Bodies Amendment Bill

Opposition Urges Swift J-k Elections Amidst Debate on Local Bodies Amendment Bill.image/agencies

Opposition Urges Swift J-k Elections Amidst Debate on Local Bodies Amendment Bill

Members of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha called upon the government on Tuesday to expedite assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. Hasnain Masoodi of the National Conference, participating in a discussion on The Jammu and Kashmir Local Bodies Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2024, emphasized the need for prompt polls in the union territory. He suggested that the central government should have decided on the elections without the Supreme Court’s intervention, as the court had directed the Election Commission a few months ago to conduct assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir by September of the current year.

Masoodi referenced Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent statement about the government making significant decisions and urged that elections in the union territory should precede other major policy decisions. Minister of State for Home Ajay Misra interjected, noting that local bodies’ elections had been conducted in the former state.

Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress also echoed the Supreme Court’s observation and advocated for early assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir. He reminded the house that on August 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir was reorganized into a union territory with a provision for a legislative assembly after the abrogation of Article 370. Currently, the union territory is under central rule.

Supriya Sule from the Nationalist Congress Party insisted on a concrete timeline from the government regarding assembly polls and the restoration of statehood for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. She acknowledged that while the Election Commission would determine the specific date, the government could at least provide a tentative schedule for the democratic process.

Jugal Kishore Sharma, a BJP member from Jammu, highlighted that The Jammu and Kashmir Local Bodies Laws (Amendment) Bill would ensure justice for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the union territory. Chinta Anuradha of the YSR Congress Party praised the legislation as a progressive step that would streamline the election process in local bodies, including panchayats.

Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai, introducing the bill for discussion, asserted that post the abrogation of Article 370, the OBCs in Jammu and Kashmir, previously overlooked, have been set on a developmental path. He emphasized that the bill aimed to bring justice to the OBCs in the region, as currently, there is no provision for reservation of seats for OBCs in panchayats and municipalities in the Union territory.

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