Home Minister Rajnath Singh appeals to parties to take part in J&K panchayat, urban local body polls

Singh's appeal came after the two major regional parties, the National Conference and the People's Democratic Party announced that they would not take part in the elections.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. (Photo | PTI)
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. (Photo | PTI)

SRINAGAR: As two major parties National Conference and PDP have decided to boycott the municipal and panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday appealed the political parties to participate in the polls in the State and asked Pakistan to change its nature towards its neighbor, India.

"I appeal political parties to become part of the political process in the State," Singh said at a press conference at BSF headquarters in Paloura, Jammu after launching the comprehensive integrated border management system (CIBMS) also known as "smart fencing".

The J&K's Chief Electoral Officer has announced 4-phase Urban Local Body (ULB) and 9-phase panchayat polls in the State from next month. The ULB polls would be held on October 8, 10, 13 and 16 while Panchayat polls would be held on November 17, 20, 24, 27, 29 and December 1, 4, 8 and 11.

The home minister said the elections provide an opportunity to political parties to directly interact with the people. His appeal comes in the wake of decision by two major parties of the State - National Conference (NC) and the People's Democratic Party (PDP) - to boycott the forthcoming ULB and panchayat polls in the State. Both the parties have linked their participation with central government's stand on Article 35A, which grants special privileges to residents of J&K. The CPI (M) has also decided to stay away from the polls while Congress is yet to take a final decision over participation in the polls.

In response to a question on normalization of relations with Pakistan, Singh said, "India on its own has taken initiatives in this regard. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke the protocol and visited Pakistan. He took the initiative but there was no positive response from Pakistan". Asserting that Pakistan needs to change its nature, he said, "We cannot change it. They have to change their nature. They have to think and understand how to behave with neighbour"."I pray that there should be change in their nature," he said.

On security situation in the country, Singh said the security forces are tackling the naxalites, North East militancy and militancy in Jammu and Kashmir."The militancy in North East is over while Naxalite violence is also shrinking. The army, police and paramilitary forces are dealing with militancy in Kashmir. The troops enjoy better mutual coordination in J&K and ensure security in the Valley. They are dealing with the situation with full force," he added.

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