Prime Minister Narendra Modi says preparations under way to hold Assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir

Published : August 16, 2021 14:31 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation during the 75th Independence Day celebrations at Red Fort in New Delhi on August 15. Photo: Sitanshu Kar/PTI


Addressing the nation on India’s 75th Independence Day on August 15 in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said preparations were on to hold the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. He said that work on redrawing the constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir was progressing well and that his government was committed to kick-start the electoral process in the erstwhile State.

“The Delimitation Commission has been constituted in Jammu and Kashmir and preparations are on for Assembly elections in the future,” Modi said.

However, there were no assurances or word on whether Statehood will be restored before the Union Territory goes to the hustings. The political parties in Jammu and Kashmir are near unanimous that elections would be meaningful only after Statehood is restored. Both Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Ministers of the erstwhile State, have declared that they will not run for elections in a Union territory.

This will be the first election in Jammu and Kashmir since the Centre unilaterally abrogated Articles 370 and 35A, ending the special status enjoyed by the erstwhile State.

Modi credited his government for ensuring that “development in the region was now visible on the ground”. He said: “On the one hand, Ladakh is witnessing the creation of modern infrastructure, while on the other hand, Indus Central University will make Ladakh a centre of higher education.”

Notably, he did not address any of the concerns raised in various local and international reports on Kashmir that have noted that ever since August 5, 2019, the people of Kashmir have been politically marginalised, with anti-terror laws frequently used against dissenters, including journalists.

Modi’s comments on elections in Jammu and Kashmir also did not address concerns raised by political parties in the region against delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir although the same for the rest of India will not take place until 2026.