Jammu, November 27:

Tryst with history has begun  in Jammu and Kashmir  where voters will line up  before polling booths on Saturday to start electing  their representatives for the District development Councils . These polls are being held for the first time  that is a known fact, but there is another first attached to it – there is no boycott call from any quarter for the polls in the past over 31 years.

The announcement of polls and then undertaking this massive exercise was a daunting task, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah who were determined to introduce and entrench all the three-tiers of grassroots democracy in J&K , did it . Of course, the local administration led by Lieutenant Governor  Manoj Sinha prepared the ground for the polls  that many in J&K had not heard of in the past.

Two crucial aspects need to be understood that this is the first poll season since the scrapping of the Article 370 and division of the former state of J&K , and  during the times of corona virus .

These elections would not have been possible if the J&K had been what it was before the abrogation of Article 370 – this is not to sing paeans to the  scrapping of the special status, but the comparison is inevitable . Facts have come out on their own  out of the comparison between the past and now.

A new climate of  democracy has arrived. These polls are not important only because these are being held for the first time, but the real aim is to empower and confer dignity on common people of  J&K who had been  fed on slogans till date, now they will have the real dignity , where their vote for the development of their areas would accrue all the value that they had been aspiring so long.

It is a fact that till date their vote was used to further an agenda of conflict and the real development and empowerment were thrown to the margins. The parties that  have joined hands today to fight for the “ dignity of the people of Jammu and Kashmir by getting back the special status” had a very irregular calendar for holding the panchayat level polls . That there was a gap of decades in between the panchayat elections is a recorded fact in the electoral history of Jammu and Kashmir