Assembly Polls, Statehood not far away: PM Modi’s twin promises in J&K

SRINAGAR — Assembly elections and statehood — Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first address to Jammu and Kashmir on his third term contained words the Union Territory has been waiting long to hear.

Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union territories in 2019 — when it also lost its special status — and has been waiting for the statehood promised by Union Home Minister Amit Shah since. For a state election, it has been waiting longer — the last assembly election took place in 2014.

Addressing a youth programme at Srinagar’s Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Complex or SKICC this evening, PM Modi said, “Preparations have started for the assembly election. That time is not far when you can choose the government with your vote”.

His next comment brought a louder round of applause: “That day is not far either when Jammu and Kashmir can decide its own future as a state”.

Jammu and Kashmir’s return to statehood was expected to a big-ticket issue in PM Modi’s third term, though there has been no announcement from the government.

It was expected to happen after the assembly election, preparations for which has been accelerated after the Supreme Court’s September deadline.