'Article 370 was biggest hurdle in JK's development': PM Modi

Article 370, which granted special status to J&K, was abrogated in 2019

modi-jk-pti Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the inauguration and foundation stone-laying ceremony of multiple developmental projects, in Jammu | PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was the biggest hurdle in the development of the state, and its abrogation in 2019 was a step in the right direction.

Addressing the gathering at the Maulana Azad Stadium in Jammu, he said, “Jammu and Kashmir is now on the path of enduring peace and progress; a journey obstructed by those in power for seven decades. In scrapping Article 370, we have demolished a longstanding barrier hindering the development of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Without naming the Abdullahs and Muftis, PM Modi said the families who held power for 70 years, prioritised their own interests, neglecting the welfare of the people, particularly the youth.

He started his speech with a Dogri couplet by Padma Sachdev, and expressed his satisfaction at witnessing the end of the dynastic rule that had prevailed in Jammu and Kashmir for seven decades.

He lamented the lack of concern shown by the previous rulers towards the underprivileged sections of society and welcomed a new era of inclusivity and opportunity.

He also announced the production of a film on Article 370, aimed at educating the public about its significance.

He highlighted the shift in J&K's narrative, away from conflict and towards a focus on education, connectivity, and overall development. “Jammu and Kashmir is emerging as an educational hub, eliminating the need for the youth to seek opportunities elsewhere,” he said.

He urged the people to support the BJP with 370 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls and over 400 seats for the NDA coalition.

“Today's huge response of the people of Jammu is a real morale booster for every citizen of the country," he said. "I am told that people are watching my speech in 280 blocks on the big screen as well.”

He said that during his foreign trip to Gulf countries recently, he was told that J&K's hospitality and mesmerising atmosphere was awesome. "This has happened after the successful G-20 presidency and meetings in the country and Srinagar," he said.

Underlining the growing tourism sector in J&K, Modi emphasised the region's potential as a premier destination, promising significant infrastructural improvements that would rival global standards.

He said, in the past years, two crore tourists visited J&K which created livelihood opportunities for many. "I assure you as far as infrastructure, people would forget Switzerland and prefer Jammu and Kahsmir as infrastructure is going to get a big boost," he said. "This is Modi's guarantee and this will continue."

He said that 10 years ago, there was no concept of the development that J&K has achieved. "There are two IITs, two AIIMS, one of which has been inaugurated by me today in Jammu.”

"The number of medical colleges has increased from 4 to 12. There are 650 PG medical seats today, besides 45 nursing and paramedical colleges," Modi said.

Earlier, he spoke to the beneficiaries of various schemes, including Ayushman Bharat, Jan Jeevan, and Sehat Scheme, and sought their feedback.

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