BJP widens net to establish base in Kashmir
After creating history by becoming part of government in Jammu and Kashmir early this year, Bhartiya Janata Party is going for party-level elections to elect constituency heads and district presidents in a bid to woo people and establish party’s base in Kashmir.
After creating history by becoming part of government in Jammu and Kashmir early this year, Bhartiya Janata Party is going for party-level elections to elect constituency heads and district presidents in a bid to woo people and establish party's base in Kashmir.
The move, according BJP insiders, is first of its kind in the political history of Kashmir, as the saffron party had no member in the Valley.
"We have started process of electing constituency heads of BJP in Assembly segments of Srinagar, Central Kashmir, South Kashmir and also in North Kashmir," a senior BJP leader said.
"We are in the field on the direction of party chief Amit Shah and BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav. They have passed clear cut directions to the party leadership in Kashmir to strengthen the base and not to enjoy power only," he added.
He said that after successful registration of 3.5 lakh members in Kashmir region, the party leadership in New Delhi decided to give due representation to the districts and Assembly constituencies.
"The move is aimed at establishing party's base so that in future, it could manage to bag 10 to 15 seats from Kashmir," he said.
The party's claim of 3.5 lakh members has already evoked criticism from opposition National Conference and Congress, terming the figures a "big lie."
BJP's national vice-president Avinash Rai Khanna said that the party after coming to power in J&K, didn't remain confined to governance issues only but to make "BJP a peoples' party."
"We decided to strengthen the party's base in all three regions of the State, with special focus on Kashmir, where we could not open account in the Assembly elections," he said.
"To give due representation to the Valley, we selected Sofi Yousuf for MLC berth. We are working on to give more representation to Kashmir in the Upper House."
About the ongoing party level elections, Khanna, who is also the chief whip of BJP in Rajya Sabha, said that party was working on certain proposals.
"One is to give due representation to constituencies by electing heads for them who would be chosen through proper voting procedure. At the same time, we will chose district and zonal presidents."
The BJP, Khana said, would deliberate on electing provincial heads for Kashmir and Jammu.
"Our election procedure is transparent and would bring credible faces to fore," he said. "In future, BJP would spring surprises in Kashmir as there would be a lotus bloom."
Khanna, who was overseeing election affairs in the Assembly polls in J&K, said that BJP couldn't read the mood of people of Kashmir.
Pertinently, the party despite its tall claims drew blank from Valley. BJP, however, bagged 25 seats from Jammu region alone and recently the party staked claim on the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council by winning majority there.
Senior BJP leader and party's media incharge in Kashmir, Altaf Thakur said that this is for the first time; BJP has started a transparent election process to chose party leaders.
"The present election drive is being looked after by BJP State general secretary Ashok Koul," he added.