People rejected terrorism, stood for elections, voted and chose their representatives, says MOS Finance.

Anurag Thakur
Anurag Thakur

Minister of State for Finance and BJP in-charge of J&K Anurag Thakur spoke exclusively to The Daily Guardian following the successful DDC elections being held in Jammu and Kashmir.


 Q: Do you see a BJP success, or is there a want for a bit more?

A: This is a victory for the people of J&K and a victory of democracy. PM Narendra Modi envisioned that the DDC polls had to happen in J&K and that has happened successfully. People rejected terrorism, stood for elections, voted and chose their representatives. Rather than any party, this is the victory of the people.

 Q: You’ve called the Gupkar alliance “anti-national”, yet they seem to be winning in elections.

A: BJP is getting 75 seats in these elections and let me reiterate that more than anything, this is the people’s victory. In 70 years, J&K had not seen panchayat elections and the Central government made it happen. People were threatened, told to stay at home and were warned of an imminent attack. Despite all that, people came out and voted. They took part in democracy.

Q: The BJP has made major inroads into J&K, what is changing on the ground?

A: People used to say that the BJP won’t even find candidates in the state, let alone voters. Look at what has happened now. Our motto of “Sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas” has rung true in every part of the country. We will only move forward in Kashmir. When the Assembly elections will take place, I’m sure we will come out victorious.

 Q: What are the hopes and aspirations of the youth of J&K? What are you offering that is different to Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti?

A: The previous regime was built on fear and manipulations towards separatism. The youth were forced to pick up either the gun or resort to rock pelting. The Hurriyat and Gupkar might think that way. They ensured the best of the best for their kids but pushed the rest of the state’s youth into either separatism or terrorism. We have tried to change that. We have given the youth a pen and the opportunity to write their own bright future. We have changed the figurative landscape of Kashmir’s future. We have given them the power to choose. We are getting AIIMS, IIT, IIM and other Central universities to the youth of the state. All of this has never happened before. Students from J&K are now going to have the same opportunities and options as their counterparts in the rest of the country.

Q: How will you ensure that the elected members from the other parties work cohesively and in hand with the Central government so that Kashmir moves forward and all of this doesn’t just keep getting politicised?

A: Whatever J&K has lost and missed out on over the last 70 years, we will get it to them. We want peace and prosperity. We will ensure both in the state. The way the people showed faith in democracy, we will ensure the democracy gives back to them.

Q: The traditional parties of J&K are the PDP and NC. What do you see in their future?

A: In most recent elections, we’ve seen the traditional rivals coming together to stop the BJP. They’ve all been unsuccessful and those alliances have disintegrated soon after. In the future elections, you’ll see how these two parties will also be rejected and their very existence will be under threat.

Q: How do you see your party’s performance in the elections?

A: The more people participate in democracy, it is better. Competition is always better. It is better for the people. We’ve made sure there are more elections held in the state so that there is more leadership emerging out of the state. During the period of being in the state, I’ve met some incredible people. The commitment shown by some youngsters towards their sectors has frankly been amazing. I see the state’s golden future in them.

Q: Leading up to the elections, there have been attacks which have taken place. BJP workers have already been killed. How do you see the way out of terrorism in the state? How are fear-free elections going to take place?

A: J&K has been plagued by terrorism. This trend of killing BJP workers has been going on in Kerala and West Bengal as well. 130-140 of our workers have been killed in West Bengal itself. It shows that people will not accept violence in democracy. Everyone wants peace. People can see a battle of ideologies but not violence.

Q: These recent elections in the J&K, do you think, are a strong answer to those who criticised the abolishing of Article370 and 35A, especially Pakistan and other foreign powers?

A: After Articles 370 and 35A were removed, many said that this would lead to utter chaos, no elections and foreign powers would control the state. Presently, we’ve successfully managed to hold pretty much all the elections that haven’t taken place in the last 70 years. Secondly, those that threatened the elections were shut down by the voters. Those that talked about boycotting these polls had to come out and fight them. People talked about 5-10% polling, over 70% took place in those areas. All doubters have been completely silenced by these polls, be it foreign or domestic.