BJP owns slain political activist

BJP owns slain political activist

The Chief Minister took to social media to condemn his killing but at the same time she did not acknowledge how Patel had vigorously campaigned for the People’s Democratic Party in the last Assembly elections.

On the face of it everyone seemed to be grieved at his killing, not everyone though was willing to own him. Not until the late afternoon of Wednesday did the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) finally disclose that the slain political worker Ghulam Nabi Patel was their “value asset.”

For nearly forty years Ghulam Nabi Patel, 60, gave his sweat and blood for the cause he spent a lifetime to nourish. But minutes after he was shot dead by guerrillas in an ambush in Rajpora, leaders of pro-India parties distanced themselves from him. 

Ostensibly the fear was that if a party admitted he was its member his killing might “demoralise” the party cadre.

The Chief Minister took to social media to condemn his killing but at the same time she did not acknowledge how Patel had vigorously campaigned for the People’s Democratic Party in the last Assembly elections.

“Heartfelt condolence to the family of senior congress leader, GN Patel who was killed by militants today at Rajpora. Such cowardly acts achieve nothing but leaves one more family devastated,” said the CM in a tweet.

Taking umbrage at associating Patel with Congress, its leader Ghulam Ahmad Mir said Patel had joined the PDP in 2014. “It is surprising to see CM without any conformation terming the deceased political activist as our leader. Yes he contested 2002 assembly elections on our ticket, but since 2008 was no longer associated with Congress and in fact had joined PDP in 2014,” he said to the Greater Kashmir.

A year ago a PDP leader had been killed in almost similar circumstances in Pulwama, not far away from today’s location of the killing. Patel’s Sports Utility Vehicle was driving through the Rajpora chowk when the guerrillas ambushed it. Two of his bodyguards were also wounded in the attack. 

“He succumbed to injuries on the way to sub district hospital Rajpora,” a doctor said. Patel had unsuccessfully contested the 2002 assembly elections on a Congress ticket from the Rajpora constituency.

Just before the 2014 assembly elections he joined the PDP and campaigned for the party in Rajpora. 

Last year on this day the PDP district president for Pulwama Abdul Gani Dar was also shot dead in a similar kind of attack near the Pahoo village. He was heading towards Srinagar in his vehicle.

The former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah wrote this on his twitter account “How tragic that Patel Sahib, a political worker assassinated by militants in Kashmir is being disowned by both the PDP & Congress. If neither party is willing to own him as one of their own let’s just call him a NC worker so his death is not in vain.”

It was only in the late afternoon that the BJP leaders finally told the media that Patel had been their important man for the party’s strategy to widen its base in the Kashmir valley.

“From last two years he was with our party,” said the BJP Pulwama district president, Master Abdul Ghani Bhat. “He was like an over ground worker,” he told the Greater Kashmir

He said Patel had been asked to strengthen the party in the area. “But he would not attend the meetings and his focus was to strengthen the party,” he said and termed the killing as a huge loss.

BJP general secretary Ashok Kaul said that Patel used to meet him quite often. “He was submissive and was known to us closely,” he told the Greater Kashmir.