NEW DELHI :
The Lok Sabha on Friday passed the Jammu & Kashmir (Reservation) Bill and a statutory resolution to extend President's rule in Jammu & Kashmir by another six months.
The debate on both the issues were clubbed in the lower house with Union home Minister Amit Shah initiating the discussion. The hours-long debate saw Shah making a strong pro-development pitch for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government and cornering the Congress party on its governance record and historical role in the state.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has zero tolerance towards terrorism and we are thoroughly committed to uproot it. This zero tolerance policy is not just for speeches but also in the steps on the ground that we have taken," Shah told the House.
In his concluding speech, Shah defended the proposal to extend president’s rule in the state on the grounds of security situation.
“The Election Commission will take a call on when to hold polls. We will not delay a second in its conduct the moment EC announces it," he added.
“President’s rule was supported by Rajya Sabha on 3 January, 2019, and that ends on 2 July, 2019. That is why I am here with this bill and proposal in front of the House that for six months, President’s rule be extended because right now the legislative assembly does not exist," Shah said in the Lok Sabha.
“The Election Commission, too, had held discussions with the administration of Jammu & Kashmir and political parties and had taken stock of the law and order situation. It also took note of events like Ramzan, Amarnath Yatra and the EC decided that they will take a decision on elections in the state later this year," Shah added.
The Union cabinet earlier this month chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved the extension of President’s rule on the grounds of the prevailing situation in the state as put down in the report of the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. The period of six months is with effect from 3 July next week.
The union home minister said during the tenure of President’s rule in J&K, terrorism has been tackled strongly and the state has seen development on a number of fronts, including the conduct of panchayat elections.
Shah’s proposal drew sharp remarks from the opposition benches, including Manish Tewari from Congress and N K Premachandran of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP). Both parliamentarians opposed the proposal saying that there was not enough ground for the Union government to seek extension of the President’s rule.
“Congress has handed a progressive state to succeeding governments in Jammu & Kashmir. It is the alliance of ideologiocally incompatible parties which is responsible for the state of affairs in Jammu & Kashmir, where President's Rule is being sought so frequently," Tewari said, referring to the alliance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).