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High voter turn-out indicative of pent up democratic aspirations: Dr Jitendra Singh

RAMBAN: Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh said today that high voter turn-out in the first phase of polling for District Development Councils is indicative of the pent up democratic aspirations of the people of Jammu & Kashmir, which has found its outlet following the constitutional changes and the introduction of three-tier grassroot democracy by the Modi government for the first time after 73 years.

What is important to note, he said, is that the polling in most of the districts in Kashmir valley is manifold higher than the dismal polling witnessed during the 2019 Lok Sabha election and this may also be indicative of the fact that the people of Kashmir valley were disillusioned with their candidates for Lok Sabha, but have now come out enthusiastically to elect representatives for the local bodies.

Campaigning in the hilly and far-flung terrains of Ukhral in district Ramban, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the trend of the high voter turnout will further pick up in the subsequent phases of the DDC election and will be a rebuff to those who had apprehensions or reservations about the electoral exercise initiated by the government. He further added that it is a tribute to democracy that the first phase of polling has been conducted not only successfully but also peacefully, for which he also complimented the UT administration.

It is for the future historians to analyze, said Dr Jitendra Singh, why the earlier governments at the Centre and in Jammu & Kashmir had deprived the people of their legitimate constitutional rights. He said, whether the critics like it or not, history will record the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a statesman, who turned a new leaf in the history of democracy in Jammu & Kashmir.

Referring to various development works, Dr Jitendra Singh said, these remote hilly terrains had been neglected by the earlier governments and it is only during the last six years that people have been exposed to the new vistas of development. He recalled that till 2014, there was not even proper road and during the election campaign in 2014 also, he had, at times, reached here by covering part of the distance on foot.

It is for the first time after independence, said Dr Jitendra Singh, that a remote area like Ukhral has been given a Degree College and a Receiving Station. In district Ramban, as a whole, he noted that two Kendriya Vidyalayas and two Sports Stadiums have been sanctioned in last five years.

About the issues related to SPOs and VDCs (Village Defence Committees), Dr Jitendra Singh said, it is the Modi government, which raised the SPO's honorarium from mere Rs.1500/- to its current amount of Rs.18,000/-, which is a huge jump in a short span of time. He said, the VDCs have rendered a yeoman service during most difficult years of terrorism and the governemnt as well as the Home Ministry is fully seized of their concerns. Their issues will be addressed earnestly and sincerely, he added.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, it is only the Modi government, which is committed to fulfill its pledge of making up for the lapses of the past and to correct the injustice meted out by the earlier governments.

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