Sonia: Heavy Turn-Out Fitting Reply To Separatists23 May 2011
Srinagar: Congress president and chairperson of the UPA, Sonia Gandhi, on Monday said that the heavy turnout in the state’s panchayat elections was yet another vote for the restoration of democratic process, and against violence and bloodshed. Without mentioning the separatists who had given a boycott call for the polls, Gandhi said voters have delivered a stunning message that they wanted “peace and development.” “The masses have given their reply to those who had called for boycotting the panchayat elections,” Sonia Gandhi said at a public rally in the Bhasoli area of Jammu. “The people have voted for progress and development. This sentiment of the Kashmiri people will have to be respected at all costs,” she said. “I congratulate the people of Jammu and Kashmir for giving a fitting reply to those trying to keep them away from the democratic process to serve their own ends,” she said. “The heavy turnout in panchayat elections is a reply to hartal calls, and an answer to those exploiting the Kashmiri masses,” she said. Gandhi reiterated India’s commitment to continue “meaningful and result-oriented” talks with Pakistan, saying that New Delhi would sustain the process despite the “changed geo-political scenario.” “India will go to any extent for the cause of peace. Dialogue with the neighbouring country will continue. India is prepared to hold decisive and meaningful talks with Pakistan on every issue despite the changing situation at the international level,” Sonia Gandhi said. “But for this it is necessary for Paksitan to take steps to end terrorism in all forms,” she said. The Congress president said that internal dialogue in the state by New Delhi’s interlocutors had yielded positive results and that the team had been regularly apprising the union home ministry on the real situation in Jammu and Kashmir. “The centre has kept its doors open for anyone who comes forward for peace. There is no room for violence in Kashmir whose people have been suffering for the past 20 years,” she said.