Jitendra Singh. (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

Srinagar, Nov 30 : Senior BJP leader and MoS in the PMO Jatindra Singh on Monday said the District Development Council (DDC) elections marked the beginning of a new chapter in the history of democracy in Jammu and Kashmir and an introduction of true self rule and true autonomy for the first time in the Union Territory.

He was speaking at a press conference in Srinagar ahead of the second phase of polling for the DDC elections in Jammu and Kashmir taking place on Tuesday.

"For the first time after 73 years grassroots democracy has been introduced in Jammu and Kashmir," he said.

To a question on former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti's remarks that the DDC elections and the Kashmir issue were separate and the presence of nine lakh troops in Jammu and Kashmir indicated that, he said this was a self contradictory statement and that the DDC elections are an expression of the aspirations of the people as a whole.

"Since the turnout is more than 50 per cent, that's why she has given this statement, it is to nullify the credibility of 52 percent turnout by these people who have learnt to get elected by 10 per cent, 12 percent, I have said this in the parliament you should bring in a legislation to fix a minimum threshold level," he said.

"Had the voting percentage been just 10 per cent these people would have said that this is a referendum for 370 and 35 A, so they are trying to have the cake and eat it too, we will not allow that, we are also in politics and we are not innocent. Ask these leaders if the voting percentage was low and dismal may be five per cent, maybe less than 10 per cent they would have gone around the world and said it was due to abrogation of 35 A and 370," he said.

He said the regional parties had boycotted the panchayat elections but asked what has changed now that these parties are taking part in the DDC elections.

"They said they are not taking panchayat elections until the constitutional position is reversed, at least they should be loyal to their people," he said.

He said the revocation of 370 and 35 A was done by the parliament of India, which represents 1.30 billion people of this country including people of Jammu and Kashmir.

"We can't deny that, it is also a fact that these political parties which are talking in a different tone were represented in the parliament. It is also a fact that three members of the National Conference and two members of PDP were in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. If they were so loyal to that cause that they are now espousing they would have at least resigned from their position, you are enjoying the perks, privileges of the members of parliament through the provision of the same constitution and through the provisions of the same parliamentary set up, which you are otherwise denying to accept" he said.

To a question on allegations that the Peoples Alliance For Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) members are not allowed to campaign he said BJP candidates and BJP workers have made their presence felt which possibly they are unable to do and they are finding excuses for that.

"Let them come out with concrete evidence, the election commission is an independent constitutional body, if it receives any complaints it will take action," he said.

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