J&K's special status hampers development: BJP

Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leaders believe Jammu and Ladakh regions can only be empowered, politically as well as economically, after the state’s special status is revoked.

Even as the party leaders are trying to convince that their leadership wants equal and unbiased development in all three regions of Jammu and Kashmir, yet they are not readily speaking out about a proper policy.

To ensure victory in the ensuing assembly polls, BJP seems to be eyeing delimitation of seats, which otherwise is scheduled to be held in 2026 in the state.

Retired Brig Anil Gupta, spokesperson of the party, told Greater Kashmir: “BJP is eyeing to empower Jammu and Ladakh because both the regions have faced discrimination by previous governments.  One of the  examples is that there is delimitation, where 46 seats go to Kashmir, and 41 seats go to Jammu and Ladakh regions.”

Gupta said that policy of Kashmir-centric political parties has always been Valley-oriented. “Be it funding, preservation of historical sites, Dogra heritage, citizenship of West Pakistani Refugees, government jobs or creation of health infrastructure, Kashmir has always been preferred over Jammu and Ladakh regions,” he said.

“This is why today Jammu and Ladakh regions are at verge of revolting. Ever-since National Conference came to power in 1989, its vote share has declined and BJP’s vote share has increased,” he said.

For former deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader, Kavinder Gupta, Jammu and Kashmir can be empowered by revoking the state’s special status, Article 370 and Article 35-A.

“The special status is a barrier and not a bridge, because it did not let the corporate sector come in. We need to have industries to end unemployment,” he said, while terming the special status as a “stumbling block” in the way of development. “Once the industrial sector comes in and starts investing, the youth will be employed. We will ensure reservation in jobs for them (local youth). For a specific period, skilled employees (outsiders) can be employed by the industrialists in the state, but it would be ensured that they train local youth to replace the outsiders in factories.”

Gupta pointed out the presence of a higher number of Kashmiri officials in the civil secretariat. “Equal ratio of officials from Jammu and Kashmir regions in the civil secretariat must be maintained,” he insisted.

Similarly, BJP’s state general secretary, Narinder Singh Raina, said “though the party wants development of all the regions equally, in Jammu the tourism sector needs to be promoted on priority and infrastructure needs to be developed.”

On being asked about delimitation and rotation of assembly seats, he said that “with the implementation of delimitation commission, at least six assembly seats will increase in Jammu division.”