Union home minister Amit Shah today said the government has done a lot to end terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and now that the law and order situation has improved, assembly elections can be held in the state within the next six months. The promise of elections -- a longstanding demand of political parties in the state -- came as he tabled a bill in the Lok Sabha for an extension of President's Rule. The House has approved the extension.
Jammu and Kashmir has been under Governor's Rule since the BJP ended the ruling alliance with Mehbooba Mufti's People's Democratic Party in June last year. To hold elections by the year-end, another extension of President's Rule was needed.
There is now zero tolerance to terror, and the government has done a lot over the past year to uproot terror from Jammu and Kashmir, Amit Shah said.
"We have seen blood flow during elections there in the past and now, there was no bloodshed during elections. The law and order is under control. We have worked to give people their rights. Most of the issues solved in just one year," Amit Shah said.
In March -- weeks after the suicide attack in Pulwama in which 40 soldiers died - the Election Commission had holding the national and state elections simultaneously in Jammu and Kashmir. The state government, it said, had advised against it in view of the law and order situation.
Citing the security situation, it had also held a three-phase election for the Lok Sabha seat in Kashmir's Anantnag, creating history of sorts.
The announcement had angered the state's political parties, who alleged that the BJP government at the centre was not keen on initiating the democratic process in the state.
Last month, the commission indicated that it has received a green signal from the state government regarding elections.
"Due to Ramzan, elections did not take place and then there was Amarnath Yatra. They will have their elections in time if the bill is passed and the extended President's Rule ends," Amit Shah added, reminding the House that there was a time when there was no election in the state for six years.