The Congress’ Jammu and Kashmir unit on Tuesday said the lowest voter turnout in the valley during the ongoing Lok Sabha polls was the “reflection” of the prevailing security situation which has deteriorated and reversed to 1990s under the BJP-led NDA rule.
It also attacked the BJP for “exploiting” regional aspirations of the people of Ladakh and Jammu regions for vote bank politics.
“On the security front, BJP government has reversed the situation (in Kashmir) back to the level of early 90s which is the biggest ever failure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi…the lowest ever voting and no polling in vast pockets is a cause of great concern and indication of the prevailing situation in the valley which is a reflection of BJP government,” Pradesh Congress Committee chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said.
The Baramulla parliamentary constituency of north Kashmir, which went to polls in the first phase on April 11, recorded 34.71 per cent polling, while the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat witnessed only 14.1 per cent voting in the second phase of Lok Sabha election on April 18.
The Anantnag seat of south Kashmir recorded a total of 12.35 per cent in the first two phases held on April 23 and 29, while the final phase in the constituency is scheduled on May 6.
He said the nation is paying a “very heavy price” for maintaining the law and order at the cost of a large number of lives, but the situation continues to be “very grim” as a large number of youths have been lured into the militant ranks in recent years which is a serious matter.
In an apparent reference to Union minister Kiren Rijiju statement accusing the party of “decades of criminal injustice” with the people of Ladakh, Sharma said the Congress always believed in sharing of power and resources to fulfil the needs and aspirations of the people of the three regions and other backward pockets of the state.
Reacting to the repeated claims of BJP leaders about fulfilling the commitments of Ladakh region, he said, “The betrayal, lies and neglect by the BJP leadership forced their party MP from Ladakh to resign, who exposed the real face of BJP for Ladakh region.”
Veteran leader Thupstan Chhewang had won the seat for the BJP for the first time in 2014 by a narrow margin of 36 votes, but he resigned from the primary membership of the party in November last year, saying all the promises made by the BJP sounded like an “empty rhetoric”, Sharma said.
“The BJP is in the habit of making false commitments with no sincerity to fulfil those like it did with Jammu region also, which faced worst ever neglect and discrimination during the BJP regime,” the PCC chief spokesperson claimed.
Sharma said it was the Congress which has always tried to uplift the hilly region and ensured political and economic empowerment of Ladakh region, by devolution of adequate powers to the hill councils and their share in the government.
“The people of Ladakh always responded to these efforts of the Congress and mostly reposed faith in the Congress. However, the BJP made them to believe on false commitments, but the people realised their politics of deceit when their pressure led to the resignation of their MP which is the best evidence of BJP’s utter failure and betrayal,” he said.