NEW DELHI: In 32 hours flat, Parliament put its stamp on the Modi government’s grand plan to ‘fully integrate’ J&K with the rest of the country, and reorganise it to unveil a demographic and political realignment.
That the next course of action before holding Assembly elections for the newly carved out Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir would be delimitation of the constituencies for a fair representation of the Jammu and Kashmir regions was hinted by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Stating that all laws enacted by Parliament would now come into force in J&K, he withdrew the J&K Reservation (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha to give effect to the 10 per cent quota for the economically weaker sections.
The Lok Sabha adopted the statutory resolution to defang Article 370 with 366 ayes and 66 noes, while the division of votes for the J&K Reorganisation Bill was passed with 370 ayes and 70 noes.
Minutes after the passage in the LS, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that J&K would see a new beginning.
“I salute my sisters and brothers of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh for their courage and resilience. For years, vested interest groups who believed in emotional blackmail never cared for people’s empowerment. J&K is now free from their shackles. A new dawn, better tomorrow awaits!”
Shah also clarified the J&K actions won’t affect the ongoing Naga talks.
To NCP member Supriya Sule’s question on how there could be different yardsticks for J&K and the Naga issue, Shah said, “Nagaland is unique and has a history of its own.” Making the policy stance clear, Shah said there would be no talks with the Hurriyat leadership while adding that the government would reach out to the people in J&K.
Introducing the resolution and Bill, Shah said Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is an integral part of India, including the 24 Assembly seats from the region.
Arguing against Article 370, Shah asked why J&K didn’t take up the delimitation exercise for fair representation of the people even as it was done across the country. “Former PMs Manmohan Singh and I K Gujral had migrated to Punjab from Pakistan and rose to occupy high offices. If they had migrated to J&K, they wouldn’t have gained even voting rights. Don’t such disenfranchised people have human rights?” asked Shah.