Prime Minister Narendra Modi today congratulated winning candidates from Block Development Council (BDC) polls held in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, declaring the election marked the "dawn of a new and youthful leadership". The Prime Minister, who called the polling in Jammu, Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh "very peaceful", said the elections were evidence of "people's unwavering faith in democracy". In a series of messages posted on his official twitter account, PM Modi also credited the "historic decision in August", a reference to the centre's decision on Article 370, for allowing the people of Jammu and Kashmir to "exercise their democratic right".
"I am delighted to share that the BDC polls in Jammu, Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh were conducted in a very peaceful manner. There was no violence. This shows the people's unwavering faith in democracy and the importance they accord to grassroots level governance," PM Modi wrote.
"It would make India's Parliament proud that due to their historic decision in August this year, the people of J&K have been able to exercise their democratic right," the Prime Minister said, adding that he "congratulated the victorious candidates".
I am delighted to share that the BDC polls in Jammu, Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh were conducted in a very peaceful manner. There was no violence.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 25, 2019
This shows the people's unwavering faith in democracy and the importance they accord to grassroots level governance.
The elections, the first in Jammu and Kashmir's history, saw 1,065 candidates contest 310 blocks. The votes were cast by the heads and members of Gram Panchayats - panchs and sarpanchs - who said it was the "dawn of a new era for grassroots-level democracy".
"We are very happy to become part of history by taking part in the first-ever BDC polls in Jammu and Kashmir. It is a step toward a new dawn of grassroots-level democracy in the state," Sanjeev Kumar, a member of the Pandora border panchayat (Samba) was quoted in a PTI news report.
The elections were boycotted by the Congress, the National Conference (NC), the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the CPI(M) as protest over the "indifferent attitude" of the state administration and continued detention of its leaders in Kashmir.
Around 400 political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir were placed under detention or house arrest as part of the state-wide lockdown to prevent any backlash over the centre's August 5 move to end special status and bifurcation Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.
Although Jammu leaders were released after BDC election announcements last month, there is still no word on the release of those in Kashmir, including former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and Peoples' Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti.
Results declare by Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar on Thursday revealed that independent candidates had won 217 candidates followed by the BJP with 81.
With input from PTI