Article 370 wasn’t agenda of people, record turnout in Kashmir in LS polls has sent message to the world: PM Modi

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that Article 370 was neither the agenda of the people of Kashmir nor of the country but only of “four-five families” and that it is a matter of greatest satisfaction for him that the brothers and sisters in Kashmir came forward to vote with great enthusiasm in the Lok Sabha polls.

In an exclusive interview with ANI, the Prime Minister said there is a feeling of more unity with the removal of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, the feeling of belongingness is increasing and the result is visible in the elections and in the increase in tourism.

“Article 370 was the agenda of only four-five families, it was neither the agenda of the people of Kashmir nor the agenda of the people of the country. For their benefit, they had built such a wall of 370 and used to say that if 370 is removed, there will be a fire…Today it has become true that after the removal of 370, there is a feeling of more unity. The feeling of belongingness is increasing among the people of Kashmir and hence its direct result is also visible in elections, tourism,” he said.

Modi government abrogated Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019, months after it came to office for the second successive term. The Prime Minister noted that the people in Kashmir warmly welcomed the delegates during events related to the G20 summit.

Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary constituencies in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir saw record turnout in Lok Sabha polls held in different phases earlier this month. Srinagar recorded 38.49 per cent polling, Baramulla 59.1 per cent and Anantnag-Rajouri 51.35 per cent as of 5 pm on April 25, the day the polling was held on the seat. The polling has been highest since 1989. These were the first Lok Sabha elections in Jamu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370.

The Prime Minister said that the decisions of the government were always for a good cause. “First of all, I would like to pray to the justice system of our country that if the government wants to do any work, they have a design, strategy to do that work. To solve such problems, work had to be done under that strategy. Now sometimes I had to shut down the internet for that. Some NGO went to court and it became a big issue in the court but today the children there proudly say that the internet has not been shut down for the last 5 years and we have been getting all the facilities for the last 5 years. There was some pain for a few days, but it was for a good cause… It is very important to save the country from such NGOs,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that enthusiastic participation of voters in Lok Sabha polls has given a message to the world and “those who had doubts”. “When the common man votes there, it is not just to make someone win, voting means that the voter accepts the Constitution of India and expresses his dedication towards the entire spirit of India… As a result, voting records of 40 years have been broken. It is a matter of greatest satisfaction for me that my brothers and sisters from Kashmir came forward to vote with great enthusiasm. By voting, they have given a message to the world and to those who used to have doubts,” he said. Voting has been held in six phases of Lok Sabha polls and will conclude with the last phase on June 1. Votes will be counted on June 4.

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