October 2019 News
PM Modi Hails Historic 98% Turnout In J&K BDC Polls25 October 2019
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday praised the 98 per cent turnout in Jammu and Kashmir Block Development Council (BDC) elections held on October 24. He said this is the kind of news that makes India proud. 'For the first time since 1947, Block Development Council elections were held in Jammu, Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh on the 24th.' 'I am delighted to share that the BDC polls in Jammu, Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh were conducted in a very peaceful manner. There was no violence. This shows the people's unwavering faith in democracy and the importance they accord to grassroots level governance,' he added. Narendra Modi also praised the government's Article 370 move and said, 'It would make India's Parliament proud that due to their historic decision in August this year, the people of J&K have been able to exercise their democratic right with exceptional enthusiasm, as seen in the historic turnout of 98% that too without violence or disturbance.' 'I congratulate all those who have emerged victorious in the BDC polls across Jammu, Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh. This marks the dawn of a new and youthful leadership across the regions, which will make a monumental contribution to national progress in the times to come,' PM Modi added. 'The polls witnessed a historic turnout of 98 per cent. There were over 1,080 candidates in the fray in 310 blocks,' he said. The maiden BDC election held in Jammu and Kashmir recorded a turnout of 98.3 per cent on Thursday, with Congress, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC) and Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party boycotting the first electoral exercise after the abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to J&K. It is worth noting that Srinagar in the Kashmir division recorded a 100 per cent turnout. The polls to elect chairpersons of BDCs were held in 310 blocks in the state and 1,092 candidates contested in the polls. Out of all the candidates, 27 were elected unopposed. There were 26,629 electors, including 8,313 women and 18,316 men, for the polls to choose chairpersons of BDCs, which are organisations in the second tier of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), officials told news agency PTI. PRIs have three levels - village, block and district - and election for the first tier were held last year, which was also boycotted by the NC and the PDP. Meanwhile, the polling percentage for the 10 districts in the Kashmir region was 93.65 per cent while it was 99.4 per cent for the 10 districts in the Jammu region. Shopian and Pulwama districts saw voter turnouts of 85.3 per cent and 86.2 per cent respectively-both were the lowest in the region. Reasi in Jammu region saw 99.7 per cent voter turnout while Jammu witnessed a 99.5 per cent turnout. Ladakh recorded a turnout of 97.8 per cent. It is worth noting that parties like the Congress, CPI(M), NC and PDP did not take part in the elections, which are being held on party basis, leaving the field open to the BJP, that had candidates in 280 blocks, and Independents. Congress had announced that it would boycott the elections citing 'indifferent attitude' of the state administration and continued detention of its leaders in Kashmir. The National Conference, on the other hand, said it was 'the biggest mockery of democracy' to hold BDC elections when the entire leadership of the state is under detention.