Apart from promising to initiate steps for abrogation of Article 370, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has, in its poll manifesto, also assured to “give a complete identity” to Jammu and Kashmir by renaming it as ‘Jammu-Kashmir & Ladakh’ on priority.
A senior party leader said renaming Jammu and Kashmir as ‘Jammu-Kashmir & Ladakh’ is “an important part of the party’s manifesto and the party intends to accomplish the task on priority.”
The BJP’s manifesto for the upcoming Assembly elections—which has been drafted and will be released shortly—reads: “Naming the State as ‘Jammu-Kashmir & Ladakh’ will give the state its complete identity, and if voted to power, the party will rename it on priority.”
The party maintains that the state has three distinct regions “with different cultures and languages”, and as such, the name Jammu-Kashmir & Ladakh will “give the state its complete identity.”
Meanwhile, a senior party leader said the name of the state “without Ladakh not being there, does not give it a complete identity. Each region has its own identity.”
“If Bombay can be renamed as Mumbai, Banglore as Bengaluru, and Madras as Chennai, why Jammu and Kashmir can’t be renamed as Jammu-Kashmir & Ladakh,” he said.
He said, “It will send a positive message, especially to the people of Ladakh region, who often complain of being discriminated and neglected.”
Party sources said renaming the state “is very much on party’s agenda.”
“Unlike NC and PDP’s region-centric agenda, the BJP manifesto will be state-centric giving equal-weightage to all the three regions with development being the priority,” they said.
They said, “The document is being prepared in close consultation with leaders from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh keeping in view the aspirations of each region.”
The manifesto also promises to make two Smart Cities—Jammu and Srinagar, and also promises that daughters who have married outside the state, will be given State Subjects.
In the document, the party also promises to initiate a process for identifying OBCs of the state so that they can have the benefits which the OBCs in other states enjoy.