PM Narendra Modi on Thursday spoke about the integration of Kashmir with the rest of India and about the redrawing of the landscape of the region, with Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh being made into a Union Territory. He explained why the decision was taken and how the Governor's rule in the region helped resurrect projects which were stalled.
"We have decided to bring Jammu and Kashmir under the Centre's rule as since the region has been under Governor's rule, the administration is in touch with the Centre. Due to this, good governance and development can be seen on the ground.
"Earlier developments which were only on paper are now taking place on the ground. Earlier, they were stalled, the projects which were stalled for decades are coming upto speed. We are trying to bring a new work culture and an attitude to have foresight in the Jammu and Kashmir administration. Due to this work on IIMS, IITS, irrigation projects and Anti-Corruption Bureau, have been sped up. Be it the work on roads, air connectivity, and its modernisation, all the work is being done speedily.
"Our democracy is very strong, but you will be surprised in Jammu and Kashmir, lakhs did not have the right to elect in the Vidhan Sabha, civic bodies, panchayats and could not even contest these elections. They are those who came to India from Pakistan after partition. They have all rights conferred to them by India but not by Kashmir. From now on their representative will be elected by them, from those among them. MLAs and cabinets will run the way they have used to earlier. The way Chief Minister used to be elected, that will continue.
"We will free Jammu and Kashmir from terrorism. When this heaven on earth, Jammu and Kashmir, will surpass everyone in development, ease of living for citizens will be increased, then I don't think Jammu and Kashmir will need to remain under Centre's purview, but yes Ladakh will remain a Union Territory."
In a historic move, the Centre moved the two bills and two resolutions that had the effect of mainstreaming of all the residents of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country. They were cleared by both houses of Parliament with a clear majority, with a number of Opposition parties also backing the bill, including the TDP and AAP, plus the YSRCP.