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news details
Jammu, Ladakh reject separatist politics outright
ULB polls
10/14/2018 10:58:11 PM
Early Times Report
Jammu, Oct 14: Election process initiated in September by the authorities much against the wishes of Kashmiri leaders of all hues to elect new municipal councils and municipal committees in Jammu and Ladakh is over. It was a grand success. The exercise was conducted in a peaceful manner in both these strategic regions. There was no violence anywhere, not even the otherwise declared sensitive polling stations.
In Ladakh, the poll process to elect new ULBs was over in the first phase itself, on October 8. Jammu province witnessed three phases. The first phase was on October 8, the second on October 12 and the third and final phase was on October 13. It was a wonderful scene in all the three phases with 102 year old gentle lady casting their vote in one of the polling booths in Samba.
Kashmir is the only region where the people will exercise their right to franchise in the remaining few wards on October 16, the fourth and the last phase. During the earlier three phases, the people of Kashmir boycotted the election for all practical purposes in the sense that only 2 to 3 per cent eligible voters exercised their right to vote. It was a dismal performance for the first time in decades. And it should be cause of worry.
The people of Jammu and Ladakh, like the people of Kashmir, got the chance after 13 years and they made an optimum use of it to tell the nation and the international community that they had nothing to do with those in Kashmir who clamoured for Pakistan, greater autonomy or limited accession with India, self-rule or quasi-independence from India, India-Pakistan joint control, porous borders, dual currency and demilitarization and that they were committed to India, notwithstanding the fact that New Delhi, Indian political class and all others who matter ignored them and showed no or scant regard to their needs, compulsions and aspirations.
The people of Jammu province and Ladakh region, in fact, reiterated their resolve that for better or worse their destinies were linked with New Delhi and whatever progress they sought they sought it within India and under the Indian Constitution. They left none in any doubt by reposing full faith in India and rejecting with contempt the separatists and half separatists by exercising their right to vote on an unprecedented scale. The overall percentage of polling in Jammu during the three phases was as high as 68.4. As for the Buddhist-majority Leh in Ladakh and Shia majority Kargil in the same region, the poll percentage was 55.2 and 78.2, respectively. Had the weather been normal in Leh, the voting percentage in the district would have been as high as 80. The people of Leh district, like the people of Kargil district, are known for high voter turnout.
The massive voter turnout in Jammu and Ladakh has, on the one hand, rattled the Kashmiri leaders, and, on the other hand, helped New Delhi tell the international community that 90 per cent of the state land area has been peaceful and that only Kashmir, state's 10 per cent area, is gripped by secessionist violence. The Kashmiri leaders have described the ongoing electoral exercise as a move on the part of the Modi government to polarize the society in J&K.
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