Decision on J&K Driven by National Interest, Not Politics: PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an exclusive interview with IANS on Tuesday, 13 August, talked about the biggest decisions taken by him in the first 75 days of his government, including the abrogation of Article 370 that provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
On being asked about the “uneasy calm” prevalent in the aftermath of the J&K resolution and why he thinks that the people of J&K will stand with him, Modi said “Please see the list of people who have opposed the decisions about Kashmir – the usual vested interest groups, political dynasties, those who sympathise with terror and some friends in the Opposition.”
The prime minister further said the people of India, irrespective of their political preferences, have supported the steps taken in Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
‘Article 370 and 35A Harmed India for a Handful of Families’
Asserting that life will limp back to normal in the Valley, the PM reportedly said that these provisions (Article 370 and 35A) actually "harmed India for a handful of families.”
Stating that the greatest casualty was the “lack of any proper economic avenues to increase earnings,” the PM told IANS, “Our approach is different – instead of the vicious cycle of poverty, the people need more economic opportunities. For years, intimidation ruled the roost. Let us now give development a chance.”
‘J&K, Ladakh Will Develop as Per the Wishes of Local People’
The PM reassured the people of Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh, saying these regions will develop “as per the wishes of local people, their dreams and ambitions.”
‘Kashmir Never Witnessed Such Strong Commitment in Favour of Democracy’
Responding to a question about the “concerns over democracy” and whether or not the voices of the people in Kashmir be heard, Modi said "Kashmir has never witnessed such a strong commitment in favour of democracy.”
“In November and December of 2018, there were 35,000 Sarpanches elected and the turnout in the Panchayat elections was a record 74 percent. There was no violence during the Panchayat elections. Not a drop of blood was shed in poll violence. This, when the main parties there were lukewarm to this entire exercise.Prime Minister Narendra Modi
The PM further said he has requested the J&K governor to work towards organising Block Panchayat elections, too.
He further said that “Swachh Bharat, rural electrification and other such initiatives are reaching the grassroots. This is what democracy truly is."
‘Our Outreach to the Gulf at Political Level Has Been Unprecedented’
Responding to a question from the IANS Editor-in-Chief Sandeep Bamzai on the “strategic encirclement of Pakistan's erstwhile votaries” and how he brought them to his side, the PM said there are two aspects to this.
Modi further said that after he assumed office in 2014, the very first foreign minister his government received on an official visit was that of the Sultanate of Oman.
“So, what others thought of me, and what the reality turned out to be, is for them to introspect,” he added.
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