New Delhi: There was a consensus among foreign envoys of 24 countries who are on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir that there were free and fair elections in the Union Territory, which is the biggest attestation to the empowerment of democracy, said Srinagar Municipal Corporation Mayor Junaid Mattu on Wednesday.
The Srinagar mayor told ANI that the visiting dignitaries were apprised of the “landmark elections of District Development Council (DDC) and urban local bodies.”
“The visiting dignitaries were apprised of the landmark elections of DDC and urban local bodies. They wanted to know the ground realities. Elected representatives from all political opinions and parties participated. The key issue discussed was the decentralisation of power and planning and empowerment of the grassroots representatives,” he said.
Mattu said that the most important thing happening now is the “empowerment of local elected representatives at the grassroots level in the valley.”
“The foreign envoys spoke to elected representatives from all political parties. The common denominator was that all of them said that there were free and fair elections. Free and fair elections are the biggest attestation to the empowerment of democracy,” he added.
The visit of foreign envoys has come in the backdrop of District Development Council polls, which saw huge participation and restoration of 4G mobile internet in the entire region after 18 months, which many see as a return of full normalcy in the Union Territory.
This is the first visit by foreign diplomats to Jammu and Kashmir since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two batches of foreign diplomats had visited J-K in January and February last year after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.