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J-K Lt Governor’s ‘people don’t want change’ remark draws flak from Opposition

Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha last week said that 80 per cent of the people are happy with the current arrangement and don’t want a change, much to the annoyance of the Opposition leaders who claim that the BJP does not believe in democracy and may do away with elections in the Union Territory. A video of Sinha, who made these remarks in the context of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, has now gone viral, drawing flak from Opposition leaders.

While delivering an inaugural speech at a function in Srinagar last week, the Lietenant Governor said, “A journalist asked me when would the polls be conducted. I said there is the Election Commission for it, they will decide. The Home Minister of the country has given assurance on the floor of the House.”

“But I told him…you are a seasoned journalist from a big media house. Please do an independent confidential survey. He asked me why? I said if I say you would not like it but 80 percent of people will vote for this arrangement to continue. There is no need of any other arrangement. I am telling you the opinion of the people,” said Sinha.

The remarks are being viewed by the Opposition as the Centre’s stand of not conducting elections in Jammu and Kashmir anytime soon. “Well this (L-G’s statement) speaks volumes about the ideology of BJP’s top brass, that they don’t believe in democracy. They want to take back the country to dark ages when sultans and samraths ruled the country,” president of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti told The Indian Express. “Jammu and Kashmir is, as I have always maintained, a laboratory where all types of experiments are done,” she said.

Mufti said the remarks could be a pre-cursor to do away with elections in the country as well. “They are already talking about changing the Constitution of this country and have started subverting it…So, may be the next thing will be to do away with the Constitution and democracy of India and have ‘BJP Raj’ forever,” said the former Chief Minister.

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Former Chief Minister and Vice President of National Conference Omar Abdullah echoed the same views stating that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are the “orphan children” of India. “Meet the new king of J&K who is so desperate to remain the uncrowned ruler that he now invents surveys to justify his unwillingness to conduct Assembly elections,” Omar tweeted.

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“India is truly the ‘mother of democracy’ and we in J&K her orphan children. Perhaps this is the logic BJP will start using to stop having elections nationwide – One Nation, no Election,” wrote the leader of the National Conference.

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Sajad Lone, who heads the Peoples’ Conference, said there is no space for opinion polls in a democracy. “The best way to ascertain what people want in modern day democracies is elections, not opinion polls. We have a government at the Centre, which was elected through elections, not opinion polls. Same is the case in all states.”

© The Indian Express (P) Ltd

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