New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) BJP chief Amit Shah on Thursday said the Modi government has strengthened the democracy at grass-root level in Jammu and Kashmir, which was mainly ruled by “two families”.Also Read - West Bengal Cabinet Gives Nod To Recruit 2020 Women Police Constables

Addressing the party’s national minority convention, Shah said the BJP has strengthened democracy in the valley by holding local body elections in the state and strengthening the sarpanchs there. Also Read - Delhi Rains: Flights Delayed For Second Day at IGI Airport, Airlines Issue Passenger Advisory | Tweets Inside

“People kept on saying Kashmir, Kashmir, Kashmir… It has been ruled by two families… Abdullah family and the Mufti family. Local body elections were not held for more than a decade in the state. The BJP government ensured that local body elections should happen in the state to strengthen the hands of sarpanchs,” Shah said. Also Read - Women's T20 Challenge: Supernovas Beat Trailblazers By 49 Runs

The BJP chief’s remarks come months after his party withdrew support from the Mehbooba Mufti-led government in the state. PDP and the BJP had entered into an alliance after the 2014 assembly elections threw a fractured mandate.

Describing the local body election in the valley as a “big achievement”, Shah said the Narendra Modi government at the Centre ensured the rights of sarpanchs and councillors and also allocated funds to them.

“It (local body elections) was a big achievement to strengthen democracy in the state at the ground level,” Shah said, adding that only Modi government can ensure the safety of the country against terrorism.

Municipal elections in Jammu and Kashmir were held for the first time in the last 13 years in October 2018. In total, municipal elections have been held in the state only five times since 1947.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.