NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his Independence Day speech on Wednesday that his government will move forward in Jammu and Kashmir with the attitude of “embracing” Kashmiris and not by “goli and gaali” (bullet and abuse), the same phrases he spoke in his last year’s I-Day speech from the ramparts of Delhi’s Red Fort.
What was different from last year’s words was an invocation of former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. Modi borrowed Vajpayee’s phrase of “Insaaniyat, Kashmiriyat and Jamhuriyat” as the way forward on Kashmir.
“In Jammu and Kashmir, Atal Behari Vajpayee ji has shown us the path and that path is right. We want to move forward on that same path. Vajpayee ji had said we have to move forward to ensure Kashmir’s development on three basic issues of Insaaniyat, Kashmiriyat and Jamhuriyat,” Modi said.
He said his government wants to ensure balanced development of various regions and communities in Jammu and Kashmir, be it Ladakh, Jammu or “Srinagar valley”.
“Be it Ladakh, Jammu or Srinagar valley, there should be balanced development in the state and hopes and aspirations of common people there should be fulfilled. Infrastructure should be improved and we should move forward with the sentiment of embracing all in Kashmir. We want to move forward by embracing the people of Kashmir, who are living with great nationalist feeling, and not on the path of goli and gaali,” he said.
Modi said the Government of India was now directly sending huge funds to villages in the state to help ensure speedy development. Through this, elected panches will get more power to take the villages forward, he said.
Modi said irrigation schemes were moving forward in the state and work on setting up of IIT, IIM and AIIMS and the reconstruction of Dal Lake was also being undertaken fast.
“In very near future, we are moving forward towards holding Panchayat and local bodies’ elections,” he said, calling these polls as part of efforts to strengthen democratic institutions in the state.
He said the people living in the villages of Jammu and Kashmir and panches were meeting him in hundreds, demanding early elections to Panchayats and local bodies that were stalled for some reasons.
“I am happy to say that in the coming months, the people of Jammu and Kashmir will get an opportunity to exercise their right and set up their own system,” he said.
On Tuesday, J&K Governor NN Vohra had said in his Independence Day address that urban local body and panchayat polls, which have not been held in the state for several years, will be held from September this year.
He said elections to urban local bodies will take place in September-October while panchayat polls will be held in phases in October-December.