Union Minister Rajnath Singh addressing the media in New Delhi on Wednesday (File Photo)
Union Minister Rajnath Singh addressing the media in New Delhi on Wednesday (File Photo)

Ready to hold Assembly polls in J&K along with LS polls if EC wants: Rajnath Singh

ANI | Updated: Jan 03, 2019 23:17 IST

New Delhi, [India] Jan 3 (ANI) The government on Thursday said it is ready to hold Assembly polls in the centrally-ruled Jammu and Kashmir along with the Lok Sabha polls due in a few months, if the Election Commission so desires.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also said in the Rajya Sabha that the government is ready to accept any suggestion from any party for restoring peace in the militancy-hit state.
He was replying to a debate on a statutory resolution for promulgation of President's Rule in the state where the Assembly was dissolved on November 21.
The resolution, which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha, was later approved by the House, endorsing the decision taken on December 20 to impose President's Rule in the state.
Governor's Rule was imposed in the state and the Assembly was placed under suspended animation on June 19 after the PDP-BJP coalition government collapsed.
During the debate, the Opposition slammed the action of dissolving the Assembly and questioned when the polls would be held.
Singh said restoration of peace and normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir is linked to the integrity of the country and the government is working in this direction.
Regarding the timing of the Assembly elections, he said conducting of polls is the responsibility of the Election Commission and not that of the government.
"From our side, there is no objection (to holding of elections). Whatsoever number of forces the Election Commission wants, we are ready to give," the Home Minister said.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad specifically asked whether the government would, on its own, recommend to the Election Commission to hold the Assembly elections along with the Lok Sabha polls which are due by May.
In his response, Singh said, "if the Election Commission wants, we have no objection".
The Home Minister said he keeps asking senior leaders of the state, including Azad, as to what should be done to restore peace in the militancy-hit state.
"For restoring peace in Jammu and Kashmir, I am ready to accept all suggestions," he said.
"Tell me one, two, three, four, five suggestions, we are ready to implement," he told the members.
He said it is not that the government wants the current situation to continue in Jammu and Kashmir.
"To say that we are responsible for the current situation will not be fair," the minister said.
Responding to points and concerns raised by the Opposition members during the debate, Singh said Governor Satya Pal Malik had informed the Centre that he was "compelled" to recommend dissolution of the Assembly and imposition of President's Rule as no party or coalition was in a position to form the government.
On the efforts to restore peace and normalcy in the state, the Home Minister said a perception has been formed that the BJP does not want dialogue to be held with the Hurriyat Conference and that is why there no forward movement.
"I told the then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti that if they (Hurriyat leaders) want to talk to us, we are ready and our doors are open," he said.
He referred to an all-party delegation's visit to Kashmir and said, "when these (leaders of some parties) went to talk (to Hurriyat leaders), they bolted their doors at them.
Responding to the criticism of the Governor's decisions to amend certain laws during the last six months, Singh asked the members to spell out which decisions had caused harm to Jammu and Kashmir.
He said the Governor had made good decisions, including one to raise the financial powers of panchayats by 10 times, to empower the local bodies.
"Because of that, the panchayat system of Jammu and Kashmir has become a model for rest of the country," he added.
Earlier, Azad criticised the decisions taken by the Governor to make amendments in certain laws.
He alleged that the situation in the state had deteriorated during the rule of BJP-led government at the Centre and alienation had increased manifold.
Intevening in the debate, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accused the Congress of making mistakes since 1947 and "sowing the seeds of alienation" by "playing with democracy".
He said the "biggest alienation" among the people of Kashmir was caused when the Congress carried out a "midnight coup" to dismiss the government of Farooq Abdullah in 1984 and installed his brother-in-law G M Shah.
He asked the Congress to do introspection "instead of indulging in blame game" and said history cannot be "whitewashed".
"When the history judges whether the vision of Jawaharlal Nehru or that of (BJP ideologue) Shyama Prasad Mookerjee was right, you will have a lot of problems," he told the Congress benches. (ANI)