Srinagar, Oct 16: The NC and the PDP should not have boycotted the civic polls, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik said Tuesday, asserting that articles 35A and 370 of the Constitution were non-issues in this election.
The National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had announced not to contest the polls over the legal challenge to the articles.
Expressing satisfaction over the peaceful conduct of the polls, Malik, in an exclusive interview to PTI soon after the conclusion of the urban local body elections’ final phase, said, “It (the response) has been very good.”
“Today (Tuesday) Srinagar saw 9,578 votes being cast. Ganderbal saw 1,000 votes. The turnout is better than some recent elections,” he said.
The real achievement of the elections was that it was conducted peacefully and people came out to vote without any fear, the governor said.
“The real factor is being overlooked. The four-phased elections has been concluded and not a bird was harmed, it was a peaceful election.
“There were no complaints of any malpractices or violation of the model code or interference by the government,” he said.
Elections to 79 municipal bodies in the state started October 8 and ended Tuesday. It was held in four phases.
Asked if the polls could have been conducted any better in view of the low voter turnout in Kashmir, Malik said it could not have been any better.
“This was the best… I congratulate the administration, police and the people that they came out without fear to participate in the polls.
“The disappointment is that the political parties should not have boycotted. They should have participated in the elections… There was no benefit for (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi or me … They should have allowed the people to vote. This is a posturing for assembly elections,” he said.
Malik attributed the low voter turnout to several factors, including the Hurriyat Conference influence, the boycott by the NC and the PDP, and the fear of the gun.
“Two parties boycotted, Hurriyat had called for boycott, there were militant threats and also non-issues were made into issues like (Article) 35-A and (Article) 370. These were the reasons that turnout was little less but I want to tell you that Muslim areas like Rajouri, Poonch and Uri saw 70 to 80 per cent voter turnout,” he said.
The Constitution’s Article 35A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and bars people from outside the state from acquiring any immovable property in the state.
Article 370 is a “temporary provision” with respect to Jammu and Kashmir and restricts the applicability of various provisions of the Constitution by “curtailing” the power of Parliament to make laws on subjects which fall under the Union and Concurrent lists.
Asked if the administration had any plans to woo the people back to the democratic process in view of the panchayat polls due next month, Malik said he would again appeal to the people to participate in these elections as it could bring in huge funds for development of local areas of these panchayats.
“I will again appeal to the people to take part in the panchayat elections because every panchayat will get a crore of rupees. How much loss is that for the development? These elections are not party based.
“They (the NC and the PDP) can field even proxy candidates. If the number of candidates is high, the possibility of violence will be low,” he said.
Pak ‘duty-bound’ to share info: Guv
Says militant infrastructure ‘disrupted’, remaining militants to be sternly dealt with
Srinagar, Jun 19: Asserting that his administration has “disrupted” militant infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir, Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday said that Pakistan is “duty-bound” to share intelligence inputs about militant attacks with the Government of India.
However, in an apparent jibe, the Governor said “it needs to be seen how many attacks Pakistan is able to stop on its own soil.”
“Pakistan is duty-bound to share intelligence inputs with us. But it also needs to be seen how many attacks are they (Pakistan) able to stop on its own soil,’ Malik said at a police function in SKICC, Srinagar on Wednesday.
Asked about the recent increase in militant activities in the valley, the Governor said as his administration has disrupted the militant infrastructure in the state, the militants are doing “one-odd attacks to keep themselves relevant.
“No one has been able to stop one or two attacks, not even America, England or France. But we are working on it and will be able to find a solution to the problem. We will deal with them (militants) sternly and with precision,” he said.
He said that militant recruitment and stone pelting incidents across the Kashmir Valley have also come down.
“No stone pelting takes place anywhere now not even after Friday prayers. A number of youth have also joined their families back and are leaving the militant ranks. Yesterday only two more boys returned to their families,” Malik said.
Last week on Saturday, the Governor had made a similar briefing about the state while addressing the 5th Governing Council meeting of Niti Aayog.
He’d told the meeting that the militant activities have come down in J&K as the people of the state are “not giving shelter to militants.”
Malik had also said time had come to focus on development of the state while giving a PowerPoint presentation and figures about militant activities.
The Governor had claimed that the administration was getting information about militants and their “activities by locals and that they are not offering shelter to those involved in militant activities.”
JK Bank case: ACB widens ambit, seeks admitted signatures of 13 officers including two past chairmen
Srinagar, Jun 19: Widening the ambit of the investigations, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has sought the admitted signatures of 13 senior officials of Jammu and Kashmir Bank including its two former chairmen in connection with the case related to alleged backdoor appointments.
A top source in the Anti-Corruption Bureau told The Kashmir Monitor that Senior Superintendent of ACB recently wrote a letter to the incumbent chairman of the J&K Bank to provide details of 10 admitted signatures, handwriting, and initials of 13 officers of the bank.
Among the13 officers, the source said, two are former J&K Bank chairmen. “Most officials have either served in the Human Resource Department or are still posted there,” the source said.
The ACB had registered a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act on the basis of a complaint about the alleged illegal and fraudulent appointments made in the bank.
The allegations reflected in the complaint disclose commission of criminal misconduct by J&K Bank officers.
“This constitutes offence under section 5(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act Samvat 2006 and punishable under section 5(2) of the Act. A case FIR No 10/2019 was registered in Police Station Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Central Kashmir in Srinagar. Investigation of the case has also been taken up,” a spokesman of ACB had said.
The ACB officials refused to share the details saying: “The case is under investigation”.
However, a senior official, who wished not to be quoted, said: “Once we receive the admitted signatures, handwriting, and initials, the same will be forwarded to Forensic Scientific Laboratory to ascertain whether they match with the records we have seized during raids.”
The ACB is currently investigating 1,200 appointments, made allegedly at the behest of some political leaders of the previous PDP-BJP dispensation.
The government recently removed Parvez Ahmad as JK Bank Chairman. There are also allegations of large-scale irregularities in matters related to loans, finances and appointments.
The ACB sleuths on Wednesday raided the official residence of deposed chairman of JK Bank Parvez Ahmad near Polo View Lal Chowk. The ACB team also raided the house of Ahmad’s brother at Natipora area.
The union home ministry and the state government have decided to split the post of chairman-cum managing director of the bank in accordance with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines.
RK Chhibber, who was the bank’s executive president, has been named as the interim CMD.
Jammu and Kashmir government has 59.3 percent stakes in the bank, which has been established in 1938.
Modi chairs all-party meet; Cong, TMC give it a miss
New Delhi, Jun 19: “Most parties gave their support to ‘One Nation, One Election‘, CPI(M) and CPI had a difference of opinion but they didn’t oppose the idea, just the implementation of it,” Defence minister Rajnath Singh declared on Wednesday after the all-party meet on the same concluded.
He added, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address, said that a committee will be constituted to give its suggestions on the subject (One Nation, One Election) in a time-bound manner.”
One of the affirmative voices came from Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief Naveen Patnaik, who on Wednesday said, “Our party is supporting the idea of One Nation, One Election.”
The Modi government-led meeting of the heads of political parties to discuss the proposal of ‘One Nation One Election’, among other issues was held in the Parliament even as several party patriarchs skipped the meet.
Out of those who opted to sit out this ‘crucial meet’ were Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President M K Stalin, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee and Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu. Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief Mayawati and her former ally Samajwadi Party too decided to skip the meeting. Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal too did not attend the meeting but the party sent Raghav Chaddha as its representative.
Attacking the moot point of the meet today, BSP chief Mayawati said that holding simultaneous national and state elections “appears to be an undemocratic and unconstitutional” idea for a vast country like India. She added that elections in any democracy can never be a problem “nor elections should be weighed from the point of view of expenditure and extravagance”.
‘One nation, one election’ is not an issue before the country, she said. Elections through ballot papers are actually the national issue and our party will continue its struggle for it,” Mayawati declared.
On the other hand, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also claimed that she would have joined the meeting had it been on EVMs. She had declined the invitation to attend and had asked the Centre to instead prepare a white paper on the “one nation, one election” issue for consultations.
Sources said that Opposition parties are wary of the meeting convened by the prime minister as they feel this might be a “trap” set by the BJP and needs proper discussion before going ahead.
The agenda for the meeting also includes the celebration of 75 years of Independence in 2022 and the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year. It will be followed by a dinner meeting with all the MPs on Thursday.
Meanwhile, JD(U)’s chief Nitish Kumar, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, BJD’s Naveen Patnaik, PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti and YSRCP’s Jaganmohan Reddy are among those who attended the meeting.
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