The Lok Sabha on February 6 passed a bill to provide reservation to Other Backward Classes in local bodies in Jammu and Kashmir, with the government asserting that important changes have taken place in the Union territory since the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019.
Replying to a brief debate on the Jammu and Kashmir Local Bodies Laws (Amendment) Bill-2024, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said the people of Jammu and Kashmir have started enjoying the fruits of development ushered in by the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Currently, there is no provision for reservation of seats for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in panchayats and municipalities in Jammu and Kashmir.
The bill seeks to provide reservation to Other Backward Classes in panchayats and municipalities in Jammu and Kashmir and bring consistency in the local body laws of the Union territory with the provisions of the Constitution.
“With this, justice will be ensured to the citizens of Other Backward Classes of Jammu and Kashmir for the first time after 75 years of independence,” according to the statement of objects and reasons of the bill.
In his reply to the discussion on the bill in the Lok Sabha, Mr. Rai said he made no reference to the opposition demand for the government to spell out a time frame for holding of elections in Jammu and Kashmir and the restoration of statehood.
Mr. Rai said the opposition members, participating in the debate, were resorting to a drama of supporting the bill granting reservation to OBCs in panchayats and municipalities in Jammu and Kashmir and were raising other issues.
“I wish to make one thing clear, no matter how much you go around in circles, but in Jammu and Kashmir wherever you go you will only hear ‘Modi, Modi’ and the development ushered in by Modi,” the Minister said.
Earlier, opposition members in the Lok Sabha urged the government to hold Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir at the earliest.