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After decades, polls taking place in J&K without fear of terrorism, cross-border firing: PM Modi

UDHAMPUR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the upcoming Lok Sabha polls will take place in Jammu and Kashmir without the fear of terrorism, strikes, stone-pelting and cross-border firing.

Addressing a poll rally in Udhampur, Modi said he has fulfilled his promise of putting an end to the long sufferings of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and challenged the Congress and other opposition parties to bring back Article 370 of the Constitution, which was revoked by the BJP-led Centre in August 2019.

The rally was organised at the Modi ground along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in support of Union minister Dr Jitendra Singh, who is vying a hat-trick of poll victories from the Udhampur Lok Sabha seat.

Udhampur goes to polls on April 19. The Congress has fielded Choudhary Lal Singh and Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) has nominated G M Saroori from the seat.

"I have been coming to Jammu and Kashmir for the last five decades. I remember the Ekta Yatra in 1992 to unfurl the tricolour at the Lal Chowk (in the heart of Srinagar). We received a grand welcome. In 2014, after offering prayers at the Vaishno Devi temple, I addressed a gathering at this very venue and gave a guarantee of freeing the people who have suffered for generations (due to terrorism).

"Today, with your blessings, Modi has fulfilled that guarantee. After decades, this election is happening without the fear of terrorism, separatism, stone-pelting, strikes and cross-border terrorism, which are no more election issues. There used to be a concern regarding the security of the Vaishno Devi and Amarnath pilgrimages, but the (security) situation has changed altogether, Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing development and the people's faith in the government is getting strengthened," the prime minister said.

Referring to the revocation of Article 370, he challenged the Congress and other opposition parties to get back the contentious constitutional provision and said "they cannot do it".

"Please trust me, I will get rid of the problems plaguing Jammu and Kashmir for the last 60 years. I have fulfilled my promise as Jammu and Kashmir has completely transformed in the last 10 years," he added.

Seeking votes for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates Singh (from Udhampur) and Jugal Kishore (from Jammu), Modi said the upcoming election is meant to provide a strong government at the Centre that can take on the challenges facing the country head-on.


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