PM credits decision to scrap J&K’s special status for high voter turnout in BDC polls

PTI

Baramulla: Female panches and sarpanches show their fingers marked with indelible ink after casting their votes during the first-ever Block Development Council elections, at a polling station in Boniyar area of Baramulla district  of North Kashmir, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Baramulla: Female panches and sarpanches show their fingers marked with indelible ink after casting their votes during the first-ever Block Development Council elections, at a polling station in Boniyar area of Baramulla district of North Kashmir, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday credited the decision to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir for the high voter turnout in the state’s first-ever Block Development Council (BDC) polls.

“Thanks to the decisions of the Indian Parliament, young and dynamic representatives will shape the destiny of the people of all regions of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said in a tweet.

The first-ever BDC polls in Jammu and Kashmir recorded a 98.3 per cent voter turnout on Thursday.

Twenty-seven candidates, including 22 from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), were elected unopposed.

The Congress, the National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had boycotted the election.

“I once again congratulate MPs across party lines for the historic decisions on J&K. It would make India’s Parliament proud that due to their historic decision in August this year, the people of J&K have been able to exercise their democratic right with exceptional enthusiasm, as seen in the historic turnout of 98% that too without violence or disturbance,” the prime minister said in another tweet.

“I am delighted to share that the BDC polls in Jammu, Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh were conducted in a very peaceful manner. There was no violence. This shows the people’s unwavering faith in democracy and the importance they accord to grassroots level governance,” he added.

The voters in the BDC polls are the sarpanchs and panchs elected in last year’s panchayat polls.

In August, the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution was scrapped and the state was split into two Union territories — Jammu and Kashmir with a state Assembly and Ladakh without a legislature. The UTs will come into being on October 31.

(PTI)