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17/05/24 | 11:54 am

Rise in voter turnout in J&K shows success of abrogation of Article 370: Amit Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday that the rise in voter turnout from 14% in the past to nearly 40% now in the Srinagar constituency of Jammu and Kashmir is the greatest testament to the success of the abrogation of Article 370. 

“All leaders of extremist groups voted. It does not matter to whom they vote. That is their right. But at least, they were part of the democratic process,” Shah said in an interview to ANI, adding that earlier, slogans were shouted to boycott elections.

The Home Minister also highlighted that over 40% of displaced Kashmiri Pandits exercised their franchise, compared to just 3% in the past. “This shows that people are now confident of themselves and believe in democracy,” he said.

Shah criticised BRS leader KT Rama Rao’s remarks on the North-South divide, saying that considering southern India as a separate country was “highly objectionable.” He expressed confidence that the BJP would become the largest party in five southern states – Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka.

Dismissing Opposition claims about amending the Constitution, Shah said that although the BJP had the mandate to make changes to the Constitution over the past decade, it never did so. “We want 400 seats to bring stability to politics in the country, protect our borders, make India the third-largest economy, and ensure benefits reach the poor,” he said.

Shah also took a swipe at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over the liquor policy ‘scam,’ suggesting that the public would be reminded of it whenever they see him campaigning. He criticized Kejriwal’s remarks about not returning to jail if the ‘broom’ (AAP symbol) gets votes, calling it a “wrong comment on the functioning of the Supreme Court.”

Four phases of polling in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections have concluded. Voting for Delhi’s seven seats is scheduled to be held on May 25. The Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress are fighting the elections in alliance in the national capital, with the AAP contesting four and the Congress three seats.

(Inputs from ANI)

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