Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that the government is willing to hold elections in Jammu and Kashmir along with general elections, which are slated to be held by May. Jammu and Kashmir was last month placed under President’s rule, six months after the BJP pulled out of Mehbooba Mufti- led government and the state was put under Governor’s rule.
“If Election Commission wants (to hold elections in state along with general elections), our government will have no objection,” Singh said replying to a debate on proclamation of imposition of Central rule in the state. He said there would be no obstruction from the Centre for holding elections in the state. “We are willing to provide whatever security force Election Commission wants for holding elections there,” he said.
After 1996, this is the first time the Central rule has been imposed in the militancy-hit state. Rejecting opposition criticism that BJP’s unnatural alliance with PDP had alleniated population, he reeled out statistics to drive home the development without appeasement agenda of his party. “There was no conspiracy not to allow any other party to form the government,” he said in response to opposition charge that the Governor did not allow National Congress, PDP and Congress to form an alternate government.
Governor’s rule was imposed in June last year after the leaders of all political parties in the state stated that they were not in a position to form the government, he said.
In his report to the Centre, the Governor clearly stated that there was no initiative by political parties to form an alternate government, Singh said.
“Allegations are being heaped on us but I want to make it clear that our intentions cannot be doubted,” the home minister said.
The BJP and the government is not responsible for the sense of alleniation which has been there since independence as no one worked to address that, he said. “We do not want any sense of alleniation in people of the state. We want to minimise it and neutralise any sense of alleniation,” said Union minister.
Singh said that the government supported an all-party delegation holding talks with separatist Hurriyat but their doors were shut. “There was this perception that BJP leaders are against talking to Hurriyat... But when an all party delegation visiting the state asked us about talking to Hurriyat, we encouraged them to do that,” he said. “But when these leaders went, doors of Hurriyat were closed. They did not even talk to these leaders,” he said.
The Home Minister said that he had told the chief minister Mufti to try and speak to Hurriyat. “We were ready for unconditional talks. They did not respond to our initiative.”