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‘Those in Delhi criticising me on democracy should learn from J&K’: PM Modi

PM Narendra Modi Saturday said that the BJP broke the alliance with PDP in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir “on the issue of Panchayat elections”and that a “new chapter for a new decade” had been written in the UT after the conclusion of recently held DDC polls.

“We were part of the government in Jammu and Kashmir but we left it on the issue of Panchayat elections [which were being delayed]. For this we left the government and came out on the road with the common person,” Modi said while rolling out the SEHAT-Ayushman Bharat for health insurance coverage to all residents of the union territory.

“Some people in Delhi want to teach me lessons in democracy”, PM Modi said , hitting back at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi after the latter, in his recent attack of the government and PM Modi, said there was “no democracy” in India.

“There are people in Delhi who always taunt and insult me. They want to teach me lessons in democracy. I want to show them Jammu and Kashmir DDC (District Development Council) polls as an example of democracy,” PM Modi said.

“Some political forces keep lecturing on democracy but see their duplicity and hollowness. The party that rules in Puducherry hasn’t conducted local body elections despite the Supreme Court’s order, whereas Jammu and Kashmir held Panchayat-level polls within one year after becoming a union territory,” the Prime Minister said.

“With the conclusion of DDC polls, we have realised Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Gram Swaraj’ dream, of a three tier grassroots democracy [of block, panchayat and district councils]. I followed every phase of election and saw how despite the severe cold, despite the pandemic, young, old and women came out to vote. I saw in their eyes the dream of leaving their past behind and hoping for a better future. Jammu and Kashmir has strengthened the roots of democracy,” Modi said while congratulating Lt Gov Manoj Sinha and his team for conducting peaceful elections.

The Prime Minister said that the ongoing works of development in the UT were based on the ‘three mantras’ of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, ‘Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat’.

Modi recounted several works of development that have taken place in J&K over the past few months, such as development of nearly 800 wellness centres, benefits to over 1 lakh people who availed health insurance of up to Rs 5 lakh through the health insurance scheme, buying nearly 12 lakh metric tonnes from apple growers of the valley.

Modi said that under the slogan of “sab ka saath, sab ka vikas”, the construction of underground bunkers are in full swing in border areas of J&K to protect its people in times of shelling.

“Shelling has always been a concern for us. We have taken a series of steps to protect the border residents and to ensure development of border areas. Security forces have been given a free hand (to reply) during shelling,” the Prime Minister said.

After e-inaugurating the Ayushman-Bharat, the Prime Minister spoke of the two beneficiaries of the same—one each from Srinagar and Jammu, stating that it gives him immense pleasure and highest level of satisfaction to get feedback directly from the beneficiaries of the scheme.

“This is a real blessing for me. This scheme has played a big role in changing the lives of the poor. Benefit of this scheme should reach to every single citizen of J&K,” the Prime Minister said. “Today is a historic day for the people of J&K as Ayushman Bharat-Sehat scheme will change the lives of people who crave for quality treatment.”

He said that he was supposed to e-inaugurate the scheme on the eve of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s anniversary, but due to his engagements he couldn’t.  “Atalji had a unique bond with Kashmir. He would always talk of Kashmiryat, Jhamooriyat and Insaniyat and today we are following the mantra,” he said.

The Prime Minister also said that within the next two to three years the railway network of the UT will be connected with the network in the rest of the country. Within the same time period, he added, that the administration was trying to extend piped water to every house in the UT.

” J&K is on the path of development as the UT has got additional 3000 MWs of power supply. Srinagar and Jammu will see metro in two years from now,” he said, adding that newly medical colleges, hospitals, colleges, schools will come up in the UT on fast track basis and J&K will touch new heights on development, peace and prosperity in the times ahead.