Indian Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said Jammu and Kashmir will be granted statehood at an "appropriate" time.
Addressing a discussion on the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill of 2021 in Lok Sabha, he said, "Many MPs said that bringing the bill means that the union territory would not get statehood. I am piloting the Bill, I brought it. I have clarified the intentions.""Nowhere is it written that Jammu and Kashmir would not get the statehood. Where are you drawing the conclusion from? I have said in this House and I say it again that this Bill has got nothing to do with the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir. Statehood would be given to the UT at an appropriate time," he added.
On Monday, Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad reiterated the Congress party's demand to restore statehood status to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Union Government abrogated Article 370 which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated the region into two Union Territories- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh in August 2019.
Shah also slammed the Opposition and asked for an account of what they did in the past 70 years.
"I have no objection, I will give an account for everything. But those who were given the opportunity to govern for generations should look within if they are even fit to demand an account," the minister said.
Shah pointed to the conduct of local body polls with over 51 per cent voter turnout in November last year - the first since J&K was split into two union territories - as proof that statehood for the region would soon be restored.
He said "We were asked what did we do about promises made during abrogation of Article 370. It has been 17 months since the abrogation and you are demanding an account for it. Did you bring the account of what you did for 70 years? Had you worked properly, you need not have asked us."
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021was introduced by the Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy in Rajya Sabha on February 4 to replace Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021. The bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Monday.The new bill is aimed at merging the Jammu and Kashmir cadre of Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers with that of the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram, and Union Territory (AGMUT).